RORY Kennedy, daughter of Bobby Kennedy and niece of John F Kennedy, has thrown her weight behind the campaign to rename the Shannon Bridge after her uncle.
Speaking during a visit to Limerick that saw her call to John F Kennedy Memorial School for Boys on the Ennis Road and speak about her 35 year career as a documentary film maker in the University of Limerick, Ms Kennedy said “they absolutely should do that” in reference to the bridge renaming.
“Yes, I think they should do that,” she said. “My family would be very honoured and it seems well suited.
“A bridge - there is nothing better than a bridge because you are bridging communities and differences and my uncle really dedicated his life to that kind of effort. So I think they should name the bridge after my uncle,” she added.
The proposal was first raised by former councillor Pat Kennedy earlier this year, but has since been shelved due to an eruption of mild controversy over the renaming idea, which raised the hackles of the public and other councillors.
Ms Kennedy, the youngest of the 11 children of Senator Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, spoke fondly of her family’s connections to the area and of her uncle’s famous visit in June 1963.
She raised JFK school’s first Green Flag for Biodiversity during her visit and said the children in the school were “really terrific kids”.
“It was lovely and the kids were wonderful and I love all the work they are doing there in trying to protect the environment,” she said.
“It is so nice and such an honour and it was really wonderful to be there. The kids were super sweet.”
Ms Kennedy, who spoke at length in UL about her career as a humanitarian documentary film maker and her life and famous family, was invited by the university as part of its commitment to diversity.
UL president Professor Don Barry said it was a “great honour” to welcome Rory, husband Mark and three children to the UL campus.
“Limerick has a claim on the Kennedys’ as Frances Condell, the first woman to hold the post as Mayor of Limerick, welcomed President Kennedy here in 1963,” he said.
“It is wonderful that we can continue to build on these links over half a century later with the visit of Rory and her family,” he added.
Ms Kennedy spoke about the 1963 visit of JFK to Limerick and Frances Condell, who, she said “gave the best speech of anybody and I think that she really made an impression on him”.
“I feel a connection to Limerick and I am very happy to be here and I feel very much at home. Knowing the story about the Fitzgeralds leaving here and the Kennedys leaving New Ross - it is really such an extraordinary story,” she said.
“I know that my uncle when he came here, he was deeply touched by the speech that Frances Condell gave. He said it was the best speech here that anybody had given - he was deeply moved by it,” she added.