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Adams vows to lead his party into next election

SINN Fein president Gerry Adams says he will lead his party into the next general election and there is no question of him stepping down.

Mr Adams said he was both "amused" and "bemused" by speculation over his leadership and insisted it was not an issue at all for Sinn Fein.

Mr Adams was speaking in Killarney where 1,500 members of Sinn Fein gathered last night for the party's ard fheis, the first time the event has been held in Co Kerry.

"The party and I will know when it's the right time for me to leave," Mr Adams said. "I'm quite comfortable in doing the job I'm doing because there's such a strong team.

"I've always believed in collectivism and consensus and we're building north and south and we're needed and this is not a time to resign from your responsibilities and your duties."

Last night part of this duty was to encourage people to vote No in the forthcoming fiscal stability treaty referendum, which Mr Adams said was the right and "patriotic" thing to do.

"It's all to play for," he added. "The establishment hasn't put forward one positive argument. It's been an entirely negative campaign. We've another week to convince people and we will continue to argue and to bring forward what we hope are informed arguments for people to vote No."

He also encouraged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to take part in a leaders' debate.

"The Taoiseach clearly believes the people should vote Yes. Well then, he should respect them and put forward his reasons, and I'll put forward my reasons why . . . it's a very important and patriotic thing to vote No," he said.

Kerry North-West Limerick deputy Martin Ferris had the job of welcoming delegates to Killarney last night.

He said it was "fitting" the party should hold its ard fheis in Kerry, given its "proud republican history".

Over 200 motions will be debated throughout the two-day ard fheis before Mr Adams delivers his address later this evening.

Irish Independent