Gerry Adams says next Sinn Féin leader will not be anointed

Party president announces he will stand aside in 2018 after 34 years as head of party

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams said on Saturday (November 18) he will step down as party leader in 2018.


Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has insisted his successor will not be anointed internally and a democratic process will take place.

Mr Adams confirmed on Saturday night his decision to stand aside as party president next year after 34 years.

Speaking on RTE’s The Week In Politics on Sunday, Mr Adams said the ardfheis will decide who replaces him in a fully transparent way.

Mr Adams told the ardfheis he will ask the ard comhairle of the party to hold an extraordinary ardfheis next year to replace him as president.

He also confirmed he will not stand for re-election for the Dáil.

Mr Adams received a standing ovation as he confirmed his departure at the party’s ardfheis in the RDS in Dublin on Saturday night.

Mr Adams also confirmed Martin Ferris will not stand for re-election for the Dáil either.

Speaking to members, the 69-year-old said he was first elected president of the party in 1983 at a time when the “war was raging” in Northern Ireland.

He remembered his first speech as president when he advised members not to stand on the sidelines. That message remains today, Mr Adams said.

“I have always seen myself as a team player and a team builder,” he said.

“I have complete confidence in the leaders we elected this weekend and in the next generation of leaders.

“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.”

The ard comhairle will meet within the next two weeks to decide for the special ard fheis and the process for his replacement.

He been president of Sinn Féin for 34 years and a leading figure in the party.

Mr Adams was first elected as leader in 1983 at the Sinn Féin ardfheis in the Mansion House.

Last night, he was re-elected to the position for the last time.

Last year, Mr Adams confirmed he and the late Martin McGuinness had agreed an exit plan. Mr McGuinness died in March.

Michelle O’Neill replaced Mr McGuinness as leader in the North and it is widely expected Mary Lou McDonald will replace Mr Adams.

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

Earlier, the party passed a motion agreeing to hold a special ardfheis three months after Mr Adams stands aside.

Seven days’ notice must be given to all members, who must then select delegates to vote at the extraordinary ardfheis.

Mr Adams also told delegates a referendum on Irish unity must take place within the next five years.