Sinn Fein holds first ard fheis in Belfast
Sinn Fein will be holding its ard fheis in Northern Ireland for the first time next month.
The party has booked Belfast’s Waterfront Hall for the annual party conference on Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10.
For much of Sinn Fein’s history a northern venue would have been ruled out for security reasons and the fear that on-the-run republicans would be arrested.
Even this year there will be some interest in whether Dublin-based Rita O’Hare, joint treasurer of the party, will attend.
The Belfast woman is still wanted in the UK nearly 40 years after she jumped bail while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of a soldier in 1971. Most of the evidence to be presented against her for the attack is now not available, but the bail offence remains.
This year’s conference will seek to lock in Sinn Fein’s electoral gains, which have seen it become the second largest party in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest in the Dail, with 14 seats.
Gerry Adams, the party president, will give a televised keynote address on the Friday evening.