Gerry Adams to retire as Sinn Fein president next year

by Garry Watts November 20, 2017, 0:21
Gerry Adams to retire as Sinn Fein president next year

Gerry Adams, the divisive politician known around the world as the face of the Irish republican movement as it shifted from violence to peace, announced Saturday that he was stepping down as leader of Sinn Fein next year after heading the party for over 30 years. "I have been privileged to be part of an unbelievable leadership", Adams said.

Adams also said he will not seek re-election to the Irish parliament, the Dail, in the next general election.

One of the most prominent figures of Irish politics, Gerry Adams has been Sinn Fein's president for the past 34 years.

Adams will nearly certainly hand over to a successor with no direct involvement in the decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, a prospect that would make Sinn Fein a more palatable coalition partner in the Irish Republic where it has never been in power.

The 69-year-old veteran of his party's struggle to end the partition of Ireland told party members that a special meeting would be called next year to elect a successor.

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Many believe Sinn Fein's popularity among voters is hampered by the presence of leaders from Ireland's era of Troubles.

While Adams played a major role in convincing the IRA to disarm as part of the Northern Ireland peace process and masterminded Sinn Fein's rise to become the second-biggest political force north of the border and the third in the south, many consider his past a millstone.

"I want to thank everyone who has welcomed me into their homes and communities and who have made me part of countless campaigns, countless elections and countless negotiations", Adams said in his speech.

But leadership means knowing when it is time for change.

Power-sharing collapsed after Sinn Fein withdrew in January saying the Democratic Unionist Party was not treating it as an equal partner and a series of talks have failed to break the impasse.


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