Adams insists he will lead Sinn Féin into election
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has insisted that he intends to lead the party into the next general election.
Amid ongoing speculation over when he will call time on his long political career, the 68-year-old Sinn Féin president made clear that he plans to still be at the helm come polling day.
The timing of the next election remains unclear, as it depends on the fragile 'confidence and supply arrangement' between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin 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 that it would only enter government as the lead party. Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald articulated the party's new position in a recent interview.
After meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for talks in Belfast, Louth TD Mr Adams was asked whether the fact that Ms McDonald outlined the party to coalition suggested she would be the one leading the party into the next campaign. He rejected that theory.
"What Mary Lou did was spell out our position and it accurately reflects the Sinn Féin 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 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."