Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will hardly be missed, says DUP
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams “will hardly be missed” in either Westminster or the Northern Ireland Assembly, the DUP said last night.
The DUP was responding to Mr Adams’ announcement that he is quitting Northern Ireland politics to stand for election in the Republic.
“He never sat in one and was rarely seen in the other,” said Simon Hamilton, the DUP's director of elections.
Mr Hamilton described the Sinn Fein president’s move as motivated by desperation rather than by choice.
He said: “Recent elections in the Republic have seen Sinn Fein's all-Ireland politics being comprehensively rejected by the electorate. Mr Adams’ move seems to be one of desperation rather than choice, aimed at rescuing the declining Sinn Fein vote in the Republic.
“The current economic problems in the Republic only serve to expose the fallacy of those who argue for a united Ireland.
“It's a matter for the people of Co Louth as to who they wish to represent them in the Dail and whether they want to encourage Sinn Fein's pursuit of a united Ireland pipedream.”
Ulster Unionist spokesman for west Belfast, Bill Manwaring, criticised Mr Adams’ achievements for his Westminster constituency which, he said, “tops the table in poverty, social deprivation and unemployment”.
“Mr Adams’ tenure in West Belfast has left us in need — in need of jobs, hope for our young people and the leadership that will break down the barriers between those living on both sides of the walls that divide us,” he said.
“In the last Westminster election, more people in West Belfast chose not to vote than those who voted for Mr Adams.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said simply: “Louth's loss is Northern Ireland's gain.”
SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie declined to comment on Mr Adams’ move.