Tuesday 27 September 2016

Kenny and Adams aim for a long goodbye

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers

So, Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny have some things in common after all.

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They each have a "cunning plan" about when and how they will exit the leadership of their parties, and neither of them is going to tell the rest of us in advance.

We're left to assume we'll awake one day to a "Gerry-less" and/or "Enda-less" political landscape.

It's unlikely to be a same-day departure by the pair, but you never know - the back channels between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin were never great.

Mind you, Gerry Adams has been leading his party for 33 years, making Enda Kenny's 14-year stint appear fleeting.

However, the pair are now the focus of questions about time-to-go time.

Read more: Gerry Adams hints at stepping down as Sinn Fein president - 'not a case of if, but when'

In Co Meath yesterday, as the Sinn Féin pre-Dáil think-in began, Gerry Adams was yet again asked about his retirement plans - if any.

For once, the long-threatened showed the first signs of beginning to happen, but being Gerry Adams he took the scenic route with his reply.

"We are a party in transition, I have made it very, very clear, so it isn't a question of if I will step down, it's a question of when I step down, and we have a plan. The problem is, if we tell you, you would tell everyone else," he said with a broad smile.

He was asked to give some clue as to when any of this is happening.

"So we are in consultation with our grassroots putting together a programme for the next 10 years, and part of that will see a change of leadership," he said.

"But we will come to this, it's a matter for the party, it's a matter of course in the first instance for myself whether or not I would allow my name to go forward."

So, like the 65-year-old Enda Kenny, Gerry Adams, who will be 68 next month, is up for quitting and just happily keeping us guessing on the timing.

Replying to a question in Irish about the leadership, he said he had known for a "very long time" when he will be standing down. Then he treated us to a mouthed riff of suspense movie music, suggesting he was already "de-mob happy".

"People within the party are quite entitled to discuss this issue. I am not precious about it," he said.

The ranks of Sinn Féin elected politicians grouped around him didn't bat an eyelid.

He went on to enthuse about the abundance of party talent from which his successor will be chosen.

Officially, it's between year one and year 10 of the party development plan, but this is the beginning of the end of Adams.

Irish Independent

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