Gerry Adams delivered his final presidential speech at the Ard Fheis last night, announcing his plans for retirement.
Adams said that he will not be standing for re-election in the Dáil, stating: “Leadership means knowing when it’s time for change, and that time is now.”
Deputy Adams has been the leader of Sinn Féin since 1983, and has previously served as an MP for west Belfast before turning his attention to Leinster House in 2012, where he currently holds a position as a TD for Louth.
It has been rumoured that Mary Lou MacDonald may take the reigns from Deputy Adams. Donegal TD Pearse Doherty is also in with a chance of succeeding Deputy Adams.
During the event, 2,500 delegates gave a standing ovation in honour of the late Martin McGuinness.
Donegal TD Pearse Doherty commended Deputy Adams’ speech, saying: “Gerry Adams [is] inspirational in his last Ard Fheis presidential speech just as he has been all his political life. A true leader, patriot and visionary. So proud of him and our Party.”
Adams also announced that Sinn Féin will campaign for a referendum on unity within the next five years, saying that voters shouldn’t “let Leo or Micheál try to convince you this is not right or achievable.”
The Louth TD also drew parallels between Margaret Thatcher and Leo Varadkar.
“Thatcher is gone but her legacy lives on in our Taoiseach.
“His republic is limited to 26 counties and extends only to those who get up early to go to the gym, on the way to a highly paid job, with big expenses and a gold plated pension.
“Taoiseach Varadkar’s republic of opportunity is a mé féin republic.
“Leo Varadkar needs to stand up for the interests of all the people of the island… He needs to be more like Michael Collins and less like Hugh Grant.”
Discussing his departure from the party, he says that the next president of the party will be selected at a special meeting next year.
“I will ask the incoming Ard Chomhairle to agree a date in 2018 for a special Ard Fheis to elect our next Uachtarán.
“I have always seen myself as a team player and a team builder. I have complete confidence in the leaders we elected this weekend and in the next generation of leaders.
“I want to thank everyone who has welcomed me into their homes and communities and who have made me part of countless campaigns, countless elections and countless negotiations. I want to especially thank the people of west Belfast, and the people of Louth, including Richard McAuley, for your unswerving support and solidarity, and your friendship.
“I firmly believe that one person can make a difference. The first step in making a difference is believing that you can be that person. One woman – one man – doing their best. That’s what it takes.
“You don’t have to do as much as Martin McGuinness did, but we all have to do our best – and we have to do it together. That is the key to our successes so far. Doing our best, moving forward, united, strong and together.”
Special mentions were given to Bobby Sands and Martin McGuinness. He also thanked his family and friends for their support over his political career.Tags: