Wednesday 22 November 2017

Gerry Adams will seek re-election as Sinn Féin leader and then set out plans to step down

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams going over his speech before opening the Sinn Féin away day conference at City North Hotel.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams going over his speech before opening the Sinn Féin away day conference at City North Hotel.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams Photo: REUTERS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams with Mary Lou McDonald going over his sppech before opening the Sinn Féin away day conference at City North Hotel.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams with Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neil going over his speech before officially opening the Sinn Féin away day conference at City North Hotel.
John Downing

John Downing

Veteran leader Gerry Adams has told party members he will seek another year at the Sinn Fein leadership helm.

Mr Adams also said he will reveal his intentions for "generational leadership change" at the party's Ard Fheis in Dublin next November.

The 68-year-old Belfastman has been president of Sinn Fein since 1983 - something unparalleled in these islands and with few comparisons across the globe.

Speculation within his own party about his retirement has continued over the past 12 months, since he first spoke about the need to pass the party's leadership to a new generation.

Speaking to a gathering of all elected representatives in Co Meath today, Mr Adams reflected that a similar gathering at this venue a year ago heard Martin McGuinness's thoughts on the need for "generational leadership change".

"None of us knew that Martin would become terminally ill and that we would meet this year without him," the Sinn Fein leader said.

Mr Adams said he would put his name forward to continue as party leader in November.

"And if elected I will be setting out our priorities and in particular our planned process for generational change, including my own future intentions," he said.

ii sinn fein away day1.jpg
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams with Mary Lou McDonald going over his sppech before opening the Sinn Féin away day conference at City North Hotel.

Party officials would not openly speculate whether he might decide to serve another full year - or delay his departure further.

"We'll have to wait until November for that," a spokesman said.

Mr Adams opened a two-day seminar to prepare for a new Dáil term with a blistering attack on the Fine Gael-led Government.  He was also scathingly critical of Fianna Fáil which is facilitating the minority coalition.

He criticised the Government's performance which he said failed to look after working people's needs.

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