Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to stand down as MP

By Fionnan Sheahan

Sinn Fein is seeking to boost its profile in the next Irish General Election by parachuting Gerry Adams south of the Border to run for the Dail.

But Mr Adams is running in the Sinn Fein stronghold of Louth, rather than taking a major risk by running in a Dublin constituency.

The party came a cropper in the 2007 General Election when Mary-Lou McDonald's high-profile campaign in Dublin Central ended in defeat.

Sinn Fein has comfortably elected Arthur Morgan as a TD in Louth in the past two General Elections and won six seats on the county council last year.

Mr Morgan is retiring and was expected to be replaced by councillor Tomas Sharkey, who ran in the European elections last year.

But Mr Adams is now seeking the party nomination in the first example of the party leadership in Northern Ireland moving into a Republic of Ireland constituency.

The party's candidate in the Donegal South West by-election, Senator Pearse Doherty, is currently the favourite to win the seat in what would be a huge victory for the party.

Mr Adams would, if elected, lead the party in the Dail where Sinn Fein's misfiring TDs frequently fail to make an impression. The Sinn Fein president said he was running for the Dail "because of the crisis".

Sinn Fein is locked in a battle with the Labour Party for the left-wing vote. Mr Adams's party repeatedly points out how Labour is backing the move to reduce the Budget deficit in four years, rather than six.

Sinn Fein is also promoting traditional left-wing policies of taxing the rich and avoiding the proposal of major spending cuts. Speaking yesterday at the Sinn Fein's annual Edentubber commemoration -- which marks the deaths of five IRA men who killed themselves in 1957 when their bomb prematurely exploded -- Mr Adams said he would resign his seat on the Northern Ireland Assembly as soon as the party identified a replacement.

If he wins in Louth, he will also give up his Westminster seat. Sinn Fein has five MPs, but they do not attend sessions in the British parliament.

Mr Adams said if he was elected to represent Louth, he would live and work there and travel home to Belfast when possible.

Bookmakers Paddy Power has Mr Adams as the 1/5 favourite to win a seat in the constituency.

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