US Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton has taken time out of her campaign to give a personal message to a dinner held in her honour in the Europa Hotel in Belfast.
The event, which took place on Thursday night, was organised by SDLP aide Caroline McNeill, who previously served as an intern with Mrs Clinton.
In a prerecorded address, Mrs Clinton told guests that Northern Ireland “always had a special place in my heart” since her first visits in the 1990s.
She treasures her memories of the lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree in 1995 and drinking tea with women from both sides of the divide “determined to put aside their difference to build a lasting peace together,” she said.
She was “honoured and humbled” to work with many of local people over the years in that effort, she said. “And I deeply admire your courage and your faith.”
“The people of Northern Ireland have sacrificed greatly but you have achieved so much. The work continues. There is still much to do.
“I am grateful that so many of you remain on the front lines, pushing for greater understanding cooperation and opportunity for everyone in every community. You are an inspiration for me and for people all over the world, proof that there is no divide that can’t be bridged and no conflict that can’t be ended when people demand peace.
“You have shown us what it means when hope and history rhyme. And very frankly we need a lot more of that in the world today.”
As part of the event, keynote speaker Jim Lyons, former economic envoy to Northern Ireland and current senior advisor to her presidential campaign, addressed a room of up to 250 guests, including representatives from all the local political parties.