Day two of Sinn Fein Conference

Day two of Sinn Fein Conference

Day two of Sinn Fein Conference

Gerry Adams, the president of the Irish republican party Sinn Fein, announced Saturday in Dublin that he will step down from the post in 2018.

Adams said he would be replaced as party president, a position he has held since 1983, at a party conference next year. "I have been privileged to be part of an wonderful leadership", Adams said.

"I thought I needed to tell you ..."

His announcement signals the end of a 34-year political career. "I will not be standing for the Dail", said Adams.

The timetable for the 69-year-old's departure from leadership is expected in the next few hours.

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The Belfast Agreement of 1998 laid the foundation for a peace deal which fell short of the IRA's goal of a united Ireland, but the movement largely remained united behind the leadership of Martin McGuinness and his longtime colleague, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

A new Sinn Fein leader will also take over responsibility for rescuing power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland and avoid a return to full direct rule from London for the first time in decade.

Sinn Fein has worked with its rival Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since 2007, but the arrangement collapsed in January after DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to cede to Sinn Fein's demands to step aside.

Sinn Féin expect around three thousand delegates to attend day two of their annual conference where much of the focus will be on the future of it's leader Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein has achieved solid progress in the Republic of Ireland, according to the latest opinion polls.

Adams noted that the party will hold a special meeting next year to elect his successor.

"I want to thank everyone who has welcomed me into their homes and communities and have made me part of countless campaigns, countless elections and countless negotiations".

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