Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations on March 10, 2015 in New York City.
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March 16, 2015 2:38 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton talked about how her husband improved relations with Ireland at a pre-St. Patrick’s Day event Monday, recalling how he granted Irish nationalist Gerry Adams a visa in 1994.

In a brief speech at the Irish America Hall of Fame ceremony in Manhattan, the former Secretary of State said that President Clinton’s decision to allow Adams to speak at a conference in New York, which many American opposed, was an important first step toward peace in Ireland since it helped end Sinn Fein’s international isolation.

“Absent that first step, that first risk, we might not have had the momentum to move forward and get to the Good Friday accords and all that has followed,” Clinton said.

She recalled her own involvement in the peace process in Ireland, where she visited half a dozen times in the late 1990s and encouraged women to join the political process of Northern Ireland. “I was privileged to be in Belfast in November 1995,” Clinton said, referring to a visit she paid to the embattled Irish city with her husband.

Her address was one of her final public appearances before she announces her expected bid for president in April. She is also speaking at a paid event Thursday in Atlantic City at an American Camp Association conference.

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