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'I made a mistake. I will lead party into next election' - Adams


Gerry Adams (Picture: Tom Burke)

Gerry Adams (Picture: Tom Burke)

Gerry Adams (Picture: Tom Burke)

Gerry Adams has said he made a mistake dealing with the recurring question of: "Should I stay? Or, should I go?"

On Wednesday he confessed to an error when he suggested he may quit as party leader before the next election.

Mr Adams had been asked on Newstalk Radio on Tuesday if he expected to lead Sinn Féin into the next general election. He replied that it all depended when the next election would be held.

But by yesterday he was telling a different story, when again asked the same question.

"I made a mistake - I will lead the party into the next general election," he told reporters at Leinster House.

Mr Adams, who is aged 67 and has led Sinn Féin since 1983, said he had no idea how long the current minority coalition would last.

"I don't know. Sometimes a government not expected to last can last much longer than expected," he said.

But he insisted that it must not be allowed go a full five-year term. He again accused Fianna Fáil of "playing for time" in abstaining to allow the current arrangement to take office.

Mr Adams was announcing his new front bench team who will "mark" the incoming government ministers. He brushed aside suggestions that the new line-up is an effective demotion for senior party members, especially Mary-Lou McDonald and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Ms McDonald moves from speaking on jobs and enterprise to be spokesperson on mental health and suicide prevention. Mr Ó Caoláin moves from health to disability and older people.

The Sinn Féin president said the party was going for a new approach giving responsibility to all 23 TDs and seven senators with a "cluster" of spokespeople to cover each ministerial department.

Several newcomers are given prominence. These include Louise O'Reilly (health); Carol Nolan (education); and David Cullinane (public spending).

Donegal TD, Pearse Doherty, will remain as finance spokesman, and Cork North Central TD Jonathan O'Brien, will replace Pádraig MacLochlainn in justice.

Mr Adams insisted that, more generally, nobody had been demoted and he had chosen the best team to shadow the Government

The Sinn Féin leader takes on the job of shadowing the Taoiseach. Dublin Mid-West's Eoin Ó Broin will speak on housing, planning and local government. Waterford's David Cullinane takes on public expenditure.

Irish Independent