SF to ratify new leader within three months of Adams’s resignation

Delegates vote to change rules to allow extraordinary ardfheis after president steps down

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at the RDS in Dublin during the party’s ardfheis. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at the RDS in Dublin during the party’s ardfheis. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Sinn Féin delegates have voted to hold an extraordinary ardfheis within three months of the departure of Gerry Adams as party president.

The emergency amendment to the party’s new constitution was agreed at the party’s ardfheis in the RDS.

More than 1,000 delegates accepted a proposal to elect a new leader and party president in that timeframe.

The vote comes in advance of Mr Adams’s keynote address to the ardfheis on Saturday night in which he is expected to announce his plans for his departure as the party’s leader, after 34 years in the role.

The vote means delegates will not have to wait until the next scheduled ardfheis to vote in a new president.

Earlier, party chairman Declan Kearney told the ardfheis that the media was ignoring the party’s “charter of ethics” when it reported on allegations of bullying within Sinn Féin.

Mr Kearney said “we do not tolerate sectarian, racist, sexist or other discriminatory attitudes or prejudices”.

“Some people join our party for the wrong reasons,” he claimed. “Some join and then they fall out because they don’t get their own way.”

The party has been involved in rows over alleged bullying.

Mr Kearney said in Sinn Féin “active republicanism is based upon a spirit of comradeship and acting for the common good”.

“The discipline and behaviour of our members is subordinate, absolutely subordinate to that positive ethos,” he said.

Sinn Féin was a “complex organisation of human beings”.

He claimed that the party’s charter of ethics “has been ignored during the latest media onslaught against our party.

“So for the record for the Irish media, the political and organisation culture of Sinn Féin is governed by our charter of ethics.”

Other positions

Delegates also rejected a party call to park a proposal that councillors be allowed to hold other paid positions within the party.

Instead they accepted the appeal of a number of councillors to allow them to take up positions including as parliamentary assistants to TDs while holding the position.

It is an unwritten but well-established practice, that unlike other parties, councillors are not allowed to hold any other positions within the party once they are elected.

He said it was “sheer lunacy” that a party councillor could not also work for their TD. He said that if a Sinn Féin member was working in a supermarket and co-opted as a councillor and management called them in and said they could not continue in the job, the party would be the first out on the picket line.

The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty had called for the issue to referred back to the ard comhairle but a number of councillors insisted that the issue be dealt with at the ardfheis and delegates voted for the change.