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Hillary: Bill granting Gerry Adams a visa helped lead to peace in Ireland

Clinton was speaking at her induction into the Irish America Hall of Fame.

HILLARY CLINTON HAS been inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame, for her contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process.

The former US Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate was honoured at a ceremony in New York, which was attended by many prominent Irish American and Irish people, including Gerry Adams.

Clinton, who of course wore emerald green, spoke briefly at the event.

AFP reports that some people questioned her appearance alongside Adams given recent abuse claims within the Republican movement and a New Yorker profile on his alleged connection with the IRA.

Clinton addressed Adams’ presence head-on, saying her husband Bill’s decision to grant the Sinn Féin leader a US Visa helped bring about peace in Northern Ireland.

“I remember very well when the request came back in 1993 that my husband approve a visa for Gerry Adams, who is with us today,” she said. “It was a very difficult decision.

“It seems like an obvious one in retrospect but at the time, much of our own government, certainly other governments, were against such a gesture.”"And I think it is true that absent that first step, that first risk, we might not have had the momentum to move forward to get to the Good Friday Accords,” Clinton said.

Clinton said she accepted the honour “on behalf of all the remarkable women that I met and admired in Northern Ireland”.

In her speech she spoke of her visits to Belfast and her work with Inez McCormack and Joyce McCartan.

You can’t have lasting peace and progress without people believing life will be better because of it.There has to be genuine economic and social inclusion. That’s true there and that’s true around the world.

Referring to her granddaughter, she called on people to provide better opportunities and peace for the next generation.

irish america Co-founders of Irish America magazine Patricia Harty and Niall O'Dowd, photographed with Hillary Clinton. Source: Irish America

“When I look at Charlotte, who will be six months at the end of this month, I am reminded that she will have many, many opportunities,” she said.

“We will do whatever we can to give her the best education, the best understanding of values and how to treat others but I would like that for every child,” she said, to applause.

Good Friday Agreement

In a statement, Adams congratulated Clinton on the award.

He also took the opportunity to discuss the ongoing Stormont House talks.

“George Mitchell famously said after the Good Friday Agreement that that was the easy bit and the hard bit would be to get it implemented.

: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams delive Gerry Adams Source: graph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland

“He was right. There are important aspects of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements which have not yet been implemented. Sinn Féin is committed to the full implementation of all the agreements reached, including the Stormont House Agreement.

“That is our focus in the current negotiations. Sinn Féin believes it is important that agreements which seek to protect the disadvantaged and the most vulnerable in society must be implemented,” Adams stated.

Three other people were also inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday:

  • Robert J. McCann, CEO of UBS Group Americas;
  • Emmett O’Connell, head of Great Western Mining;
  • Pat Quinn, the creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

With reporting from AFP

Read: Hillary’s deleted emails were about Chelsea’s wedding and yoga, apparently

Read: Here are 10 things we learned at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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