Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:01 UK

Reaction to the death of Ted Kennedy

Political reaction to the death of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy at the age of 77.

MARY MCALEESE, PRESIDENT OF IRELAND
Mary McAleese
Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered by people in the United States as an outstanding legislator and politician who had a deep connection with the needs of ordinary people.

He will be remembered here in Ireland as a hugely important friend to this country during the very difficult times.

His death will be greeted with a great sense of sadness here because of his long-standing affection for this country, not just with the peace process, but on many other issues, including emigration.

His outstanding and remarkable personal contribution was made, despite the sacrifice and sorrow that was part of the overall contribution of the entire Kennedy family.

My deepest sympathy is extended to the Kennedy family.


JOHN HUME, FORMER LEADER OF THE SDLP

John Hume
I am deeply saddened to learn of the death Senator Edward Kennedy, a great friend of Ireland.

I extend my sincerest sympathy to his wide circle of family and friends.


Senator Kennedy was an outstanding supporter of our peace process.

His commitment to Ireland was strong and positive while peace and justice was always at the top of his agenda.


MARK DURKAN, LEADER OF THE SDLP
Mark Durkan

Mr Durkan worked as an intern in Mr Kennedy's office in 1985.

Edward Kennedy played an absolutely decisive role in the peace process.

He took a decision to contact and connect with Irish affairs through his relationship with John Hume and took most of his read on how things where panning out in Ireland from John Hume.

He was never afraid to take stands and stances that challenged the actions and inactions of the British Government.

Furthermore, he was prepared to challenge the convictions of misguided elements of the Irish-American constituency. In essence, he stood up for what was right and stood against what was wrong.


DANNY KENNEDY, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE UUP
Danny Kennedy
For many years Senator Kennedy would not have been recognised as a friend of Unionism or of Northern Ireland. Indeed, he made little secret of his support for British withdrawal and a united Ireland.


But since the mid-1990s it became clear that Senator Kennedy had embarked upon a new journey, which eventually led him to an acceptance of Unionist opinions, rights and constitutional status.


As a unionist I do not underestimate the part he played at a crucial time in the process that led to the 1998 Agreement. Nor do I underestimate the significance of his role at the time the McCartney sisters travelled to the United States.


He bore his illness with great personal courage and dignity and his death has robbed American politics of one of its' most influential thinkers and legislators.


GERRY ADAMS, PRESIDENT OF SINN FEIN
Gerry Adams
It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. He has served the American people with courage and commitment for nearly 50 years.

His service to Ireland through his role in the peace process was exceptional and contributed significantly to its progress.

My sincere condolences to his wife Vicky and family, to his sister Jean Kennedy Smith, who as Ambassador to Ireland also played a crucial role in the Peace Process, and to his wide family circle.

My condolences also to his colleagues in the Senate and Congress and to the American people who have lost a champion.

Ted Kennedy will be much missed.


DAVID FORD, LEADER OF THE ALLIANCE PARTY
David Ford
He was an iconic figure for progressive politics in the United States and had a proud record of promoting liberal causes.

"He helped to widen the vision of Irish Americans to the realities of Northern Ireland and will be remembered for the part he played in our peace process."


PETER WEIR, DUP MLA
Peter Weir
Latterly he came to recognise the validity of the Unionist argument and the reality of partition: he went as far as snubbing Republican political representatives over their failure to come up to the democratic standards set by the DUP and accepted an honourary knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen.

In his long political career he travelled quite a distance.

In many ways the passing of Edward Kennedy represents the end of an era in US politics: he was a key figure in the turbulence and social upheaval of 1960s America and provided a direct link back to that time, I have no doubt that his death will be deeply mourned in the United States and beyond


BRIAN COWEN, IRISH PRIME MINISTER
Brian Cowen

In good days and bad, Ted Kennedy worked valiantly for the cause of peace on this island. He played a particularly important role in the formative days of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

He maintained a strong and genuine interest in its progress. He used his political influence wisely.

He was the voice of moderation and common sense. He was unequivocal in his rejection of violence at all times and from all quarters.

He believed that only politics would provide a sustainable and enduring way forward.

His belief that the United States could play a strong role in solving our problems has been vindicated by the success of the Peace Process.


UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UK, LOUIS SUSMAN
Louis B. Susman
Senator Kennedy was a lion of the Senate. He was beloved and trusted on both sides of the aisle and had a marvelous capacity to bring people together.


He was a champion of many causes, but above all he spoke for those who didn't have a voice. His legislative legacy in the areas of civil rights, health, and economic policy changed the United States for the better.

He exemplified the best American traditions of service to our country, and he will be deeply missed.

On a personal note, for 30 years Marjorie and I were privileged to call Ted Kennedy a friend. He was devoted to his family, and never failed to uplift our spirits with his passion and warmth.




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