Gerry Adams Announces Retirement
Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin and one of the most formidable figures in Irish nationalist politics for nearly 50 years, announced at the Sinn Féin party conference in November that he plans to retire in 2018, ceding control of the party he has led for 34 years, and making way for a new generation of Irish republicans to come to the fore.
“Leadership means knowing when it is time for change,” he said during a heartfelt speech at the convention in front of a 2,500-person crowd. “That time is now.”
Currently, Sinn Féin is the third-largest party in the Republic of Ireland, and the second-largest in Northern Ireland, and its new president could be poised to make the party’s image even more legitimate and palatable to many who still view it as suspicious, even, possibly, entering government in Dublin for the first time. Speaking to the New York Times, University College Dublin politics professor David Farrell said, “Under a new Sinn Féin leader I think anything is possible.” ♦