Gerry Adams says he intends to lead Sinn Fein in next election
Gerry Adams has said he intends to lead Sinn Fein into the next general election.
Amid ongoing speculation over when he will call time on his long political career, the 68-year-old Sinn Fein president made clear he planned to still be at the helm come polling day.
The timing of the next election remains unclear, as it essentially depends on the fate of the fragile confidence and supply arrangement between the Fine Gael-led minority government and its arch-rival Fianna Fail.
Sinn Fein has signalled a willingness to be a junior partner in any future government after the next poll, rather than striking its own confidence and supply deal with a new administration.
This marks a change of tone from the party's previous insistence it would only enter government as the lead party.
Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald articulated the party's position in The Irish Times on Friday.
After meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for talks in Belfast, Louth TD Mr Adams was asked whether the fact Ms McDonald outlined the Sinn Fein attitude to coalition suggested she would be the one leading the party into the next campaign.
Mr Adams rejected that theory.
"What Mary Lou did was spell out our position and it accurately reflects the Sinn Fein view that, if we get a mandate in the next election, the general election in the south, to be in government, then we will seek to negotiate a programme for government and bring that forward to an Ard Fheis (party conference) for endorsement if there's agreement about it," he said.
"It's also clear for anyone who has eyes to see that the current arrangements in Leinster House don't work for the homeless, don't work for people who are stressed out with mortgages and other difficulties, and don't work for patients who can't get proper health services.
"It only works for Fine Gael and especially Fianna Fail, and it is my intention, as I stand here, to lead Sinn Fein into the next election."