Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald in front of the Irish Parliament, on March 10, 2016 in Dublin
The historic leader Gerry Adams will leave Saturday the presidency of Sinn Féin after 34 years, in a special congress of the party in which his right hand, Mary Lou McDonald, will take command.
Adams, a key player in Irish politics for decades, was re-elected for the last time as president of the training at a congress held in November, in which he announced that he would quickly leave office to give space to new generations.
The transition will be smooth as its successor, Mary Lou McDonald, the only candidate for the position, was vice president of the formation for 10 years.
„I know that I have a very high bar when taking the position of Gerry Adams and I know it is impossible to overcome it,“ McDonald said. „We are entering a new era and we can look forward with confidence,“ he added.
Gerry Adams responded to those who fear he will continue to drive the wires by saying that he will not seek a new term in the Irish parliament and will not be a candidate for the Irish presidency, as some observers shuffled.
– Generation IRA –
Gerry Adams when he announced his retirement from the Sinn Féin presidency on November 18, 2017
Gerry Adams remains the historical embodiment of the struggle for the reunification of Ireland and his central role in political life earned him worldwide recognition.
But along with the notoriety, Adams also was surrounded in controversies by the accusations to have had links with the IRA (Irish Republican Army), the disappeared armed arm of the Sinn Féin, person in charge of more than 1,700 deaths in the three decades of the norirlandés conflict (1968-1998).
Although the families of the victims consider him a murderer, many others perceive him as an architect of the peace that has been gradually installed in Northern Ireland for 20 years.
Adams said in an interview with the British Press Association on Friday that he regretted the violence in Northern Ireland in the lead years of the conflict.
„It took almost from 1976/77 until 1994 before there was the first cessation,“ he said in reference to the peace process. „That was too long and many people died or were injured or traumatized in the meantime,“ he said.
The arrival at the front of the McDonald formation, which at 48 years belongs to a later generation, without links to the IRA, marks a symbolic transition for Sinn Féin.
Gerry Adams during a conference of Sinn Féin on February 25, 1995 in Dublin
The party, which with Gerry Adams at the head became the second political force in Northern Ireland and the third in the Republic of Ireland, continues to aspire to a reunification of the island, by coming to power in Dublin and Belfast.
Some within the movement considered, however, that the figure of Adams prevented them from achieving new advances.
– Opposition to Brexit –
After achieving greater support from the electorate campaigning against austerity after the financial crisis, Sinn Féin is currently turning to social issues.
One of the key issues with which he counts to add votes is his firm opposition to Brexit, especially in Northern Ireland, which voted mostly (about 56%) against the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union and where since March of 2017 has only one deputy less than the Democratic Unionist Party.
Gerry Adams, who for a long time was a representative in the parliament of Belfast and in Westminster, told the British agency that with the Brexit „the idea of a united Ireland is even more present in the debate“.
With respect to the footprint that will leave in its formation, in the same interview he said that he does not care what the story says, and he assured: „I am satisfied, I did the best I could“.