Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Irish Republican Party President Gerry Adams To Step Down In 2018

Irish Republican Party President Gerry Adams To Step Down In 2018

Gerry Adams has announced he is stepping down as President of Sinn Fein, once the political arm of the now inactive Irish Republican Army (IRA), after 34 years in charge of the party, a media report said.

Reviled by many as the face of the IRA during its campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland, Adams reinvented himself as a peacemaker in the troubled region and then as a populist opposition parliamentarian in the Irish Republic.

He said: "They will change their leader but the core of the Provisional movement's approach to politics remains and has been constantly reaffirmed by all of their prospective leaders".

The party is expected to elect a successor next year.

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Adams stayed on stage as the 2,500-strong crowd, some in tears, gave him a standing ovation and sang a traditional Irish song about the road home, followed by the national anthem.

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

Mary Lou McDonald, 48, is considered the clear favourite to take Adams's place.

He was a key figure in Ireland's republican movement, which seeks to take Northern Ireland out of the U.K. and unite it with the Republic of Ireland.

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Adams said the move was part of an ongoing leadership transition within the party formulated with former Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness before his death in March this year.

Adams was key in the peace process that saw the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the formation of the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein has worked with its rival Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since 2007, but the arrangement collapsed in January after DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to cede to Sinn Fein's demands to step aside.

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