Adams to contest Louth seat


Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said today he will contest the Co Louth seat in the  next general election.

In a major political move by Sinn Féin, he will also immediately resign from the Northern Ireland Assembly and abdicate his West Belfast seat at Westminster.

Mr Adams is seeking to succeed Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan, who announced last week he would not be seeking re-election in Co Louth at the next election. Mr Morgan, the party’s spokesman on finance said he wished to leave politics to concentrate on his family’s fish business.

In an address to supporters at a republican commemoration at Edentubber, Co Louth this afternoon, Mr Adams said it was his “duty” to step forward to help Ireland in a time of economic crisis.

“As leader of Sinn Féin, I want to be part of the necessary fight-back against bad economic policies in both parts of this island and for a fair, decent and united society for all the people of Ireland.”

He said that if elected for the Louth constituency, he would work and live there instead of Belfast.

Mr Adams said his decision showed Sinn Féin’s “determination to provide a real alternative to the consensus for cuts being pushed by the other parties”.

The other sitting TDs in Louth are the Minister for Finance Dermot Ahern, Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk, both of Fianna Fáil, and Fine Gael’s Fergus O’Dowd. Mr Morgan took the fourth seat in the 2007 election, having won 15 per cent of first preference votes. As sitting Ceann Comhairle, Mr Kirk will be automatically re-elected at the next general election.

Mr Morgan was first elected in 2002, having unsuccessfully contested the general elections in Louth in 1987 and 1989, as well as the European elections in 1999. He was a member of Louth County Council between 1999 and 2003. He was convicted for the possession of explosives and weapons and imprisoned in the Maze Prison from 1977 to 1984.

A decision to stand the Sinn Féin president for election in the Republic while he already holds seats for West Belfast in both the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly would be a major political move by the party.

There is no modern precedent for a politician to seek election to both Westminster and the Dáil, but as an all-Ireland party Sinn Féin already has elected politicians across the island.

Sinn Féin has five MPs elected in Northern Ireland, including Mr Adams. It has four TDs in the Dáil.

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty is the narrow favourite to win the Donegal South West byelection on November 25th.