Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams sets date for election of new Sinn Fein leader

Gerry Adams has revealed the date a new leader will take over the presidency of Sinn Fein.

Writing in his weekly column in the Andersontown News, Mr Adams revealed February 10 as the date for a special Ard Fheis when a new party leader will be elected.

The republican leader announced at the Sinn Fein party conference in November he would be stepping down from the leadership and would not seek re-election to Dail Eireann, where he has served as a TD for the constituency of Louth since 2011.

Dublin TD Mary Lou McDonald. the party's current deputy leader, is the outstanding favourite to succeed Mr Adams. 

In the column, entitled 'Looking for a job?', Mr Adams says the new leader of Sinn Fein "face many challenges, some of these internal as we seek to continue to grow in political strength and improve the skills of our activists".

In recent months Sinn Fein has been marred by allegations that a bullying culture permeates the party, with a number of councillors resigning over the issue.

Mr Adams describes the position as an "unwaged job" and says his only consideration with the timing of his resignation was to give his successor "sufficient time to prepare him or herself for the next general election in the South".

"It is a fact that Sinn Fein is electorally and organisationally stronger than at any time since partition," he said.

"This is as a result of the great team of political activists that we have consciously developed over recent years. We have to build on this and make Sinn Fein, as a national movement, fit for purpose."

Mr Adams mentions the challenges his party faces with Brexit and restoring the Stormont Executive, and reiterates his party's commitment to a united Ireland, stating the Good Friday Agreement "provides the means by which an end to the Union can be achieved".

Nominations for the new presidency of Sinn Fein opened on January 8, and will close on January 19.

The special February 10 Ard Fheis will take place at the RDS in Dublin.

Gerry Adams has held the presidency of Sinn Fein since 1983.

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