Sinead O'Connor urges Adams to quit
Sinn Fein has defended its leader Gerry Adams after singer Sinead O'Connor joined the party and immediately demanded he stand down.
The controversial musician, best known for her Prince-penned hit Nothing Compares To U, announced on her blog she was joining the republicans to push for a "proper socialist Ireland".
Ms O'Connor said it was the only party who would deliver a promise in the Proclamation during Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising for equality and for all of the nation's children to be equally cherished.
In a follow-up post on her Facebook page, she announced she had now joined the party.
But in an attack on the leadership, she added: "I might not even be the kind of person they want, because I'm gonna write here that I feel the elders of Sinn Fein are going to have to make 'the supreme sacrifice' and step down shortly in the same way the last Pope did."
Sinn Fein has been at the centre of controversy in recent weeks over renewed allegations by Belfast woman Mairia Cahill that she was raped as a teenager by an IRA suspect.
She also claims there was an IRA cover up of sexual abuse during the Troubles.
Comparing the fall-out to Pope Benedict standing down amid child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, Ms O'Connor said it was the "smart thing for him to do" because "the church were losing bums on seats, if I may use a showbiz term".
"There'd be a zillion per cent increase in membership of Sinn Fein if the leadership were handed over to those born from 1983/1985 onward and no one associated in people's minds with frightful things," she added.
"Frightful things belong where they are now, in the past."
In a statement, Sinn Fein said they were looking forward to working with Ms O'Connor to change Ireland but defended the leadership of Mr Adams.
"The membership of the party selects the Sinn Fein leadership every year at our Ard Fheis (annual conference)," a spokeswoman said.
"As a member, Sinead would have an equal say in that process.
"In the election in May, Sinn Fein trebled our representation at local government level and elected four MEPS across the island of Ireland.
"Support for Sinn Fein in this state has grown considerably since Gerry Adams was elected as a TD.
"In 2011, Sinn Fein was at 9.9%. The party received 15.2% of the vote in the local elections this year and recent polls have put support for Sinn Fein at between 22% - 26%.
"We look forward to working with Sinead in an effort to deliver the changes so badly needed in Ireland."