Gerry Adams to announce retirement as Sinn Féin president today

Gerry Adams to announce retirement as Sinn Féin president today

It seems that after 34 years as the leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams will tonight finally lay out his plans to step down as party president.

Stating his "complete confidence in the next generation of leaders" he said he supported holding a special conference in 2018 to elect the new president of the party. He said he will not seek reelection to the Irish parliament, the Dáil Éirean.

Adams, 69, was elected as his party's president for the 35th time today, and told his party conference he was "proud to have served Sinn Fein since 1983" when he was first elected.

Mr Adams was elected as a TD for Louth in the 2011 general election and received the largest vote in that election.

"Leadership means knowing when it's time for change, and that time is now", he told the conference which stood to applaud him.

Last night, the party voted in favour of a motion to hold a special conference on any decision to enter coalition government.

Mr Adams said the move was part of the ongoing process of leadership transition within the party.

"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", he added.

Last year Mr Adams confirmed he and the late Martin McGuinness had agreed an exit plan. Current deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was seen as a favorite to succeed Adams.

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

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