Gerry Adams to announce retirement as Sinn Féin president today

Gerry Adams to announce retirement as Sinn Féin president today

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams laid out plans to stand down after more than three decades at the helm of the party, which campaigns for a united Ireland.

The 69-year-old veteran politician - who has been president of Northern Ireland's second-largest party since 1983 - told the party's annual conference in Dublin he would not run in the next Irish parliamentary elections.

Last night, the party voted in favour of a motion to hold a special conference on any decision to enter coalition government, with Mary Lou McDonald telling delegates that those who said Sinn Fein were not interested in government were very wrong.

He is however expected to seek re-election as president today at the party's Ard Fheis, but will then set out his long term plans.

As a result, he was loathed by pro-British unionists and the British government, but lionized in equal measure by Irish nationalists.

Mr. Adams will nearly certainly be succeeded by someone with no direct involvement in the decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, a prospect that would make Sinn Fein a more palatable coalition partner in the Irish Republic, where it has never been in power.

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Addressing the media on Sunday, an emotional Kidwell said he will take a couple of weeks to consider his future, with his current contract due to end in January.

3,600 died in the conflict, many at the hands of the IRA.

Adams will nearly certainly hand over to a successor with no direct involvement in the decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, a prospect that would make Sinn Fein a more palatable coalition partner in the Irish Republic where it has never been in power.

Between 1988 and 1994, Adams was banned from speaking on British airwaves. Television stations instead dubbed his voice with that of an actor. "That time is now", Adams said in an emotional speech to a packed party conference.

He and his party emerged from the political cold in October 1997 when he shook hands with Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair at their first meeting.

Within a year, Adams and McGuinness had helped to broker a peace deal that largely ended the violence in the province.

Latterly he has used social media to create a grandfatherly image in the Irish Republic, with posts about his dog and his taste in cartoons.

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