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Julien Behal/PA Archive
Sinn Féin

Adams wants Sinn Féin to support candidate for Áras

The Sinn Féin president tells delegates at the party’s Árd Fheis that a united Ireland makes ‘economic, political and common sense’.

GERRY ADAMS has told Sinn Féin delegates at the party’s Árd Fheis in Belfast that uniting Ireland makes economic, political and common sense – and says he wants his party to support a candidate in the Presidential election next month.

Delivering the keynote speech this evening – describing the first Árd Fheis in the city as a “big deal” – Adams said the position of president was “not a trophy for the political establishment”.

“In my view Sinn Féin should support a candidate… who is capable of winning the support of popular nationalist opinion,” he told applauding delegates, saying the matter would be considered by its newly-appointed national executive.

Adams also commented that he believed there were many in Ireland who shared the party’s fundamental goal of self-determinism, and “who want rid of outsiders ruling us, whether they be from London, the European Union, or the IMF.”

Adams savaged the Fine Gael and Labour government for pursuing economic policies he said had been left behind by Fianna Fáil, and especially its decision to continue supporting the winding-down of Anglo Irish Bank.

Fine Gael and Labour are set to impose almost €4 billion of these cuts… and at the same time, Anglo is getting €3 billion this and every year for next decade…

What kind of society will be left when they’ve sold our national assets, and our national resources, for next to nothing?

It was a “big deal” for Adams as a Belfast man, he said, to be able to host a party Árd Fheis in Belfast, which he said was proof that the “Orange State is no more”.

He said a personal priority for him, and a political one for his party, was reaching out to unionists and finding common ground between them. “We have to be patient… and celebrate differences as diversity.”

Adams also commented that he and the party stood “full square” behind the people of Palestine in their quest for independence, while also expressing solidarity with republicans in the Basque Country.

Adams’ speech capped a long day of speeches in Belfast, with senior figures in the party attacking the Fine Gael-Labour coalition for its compliance with the IMF and EU deal.

Last night, Presbyterian minister Rev David Latimer provoked criticism from unionist leaders when he described Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as “one of the great leaders of modern times”.

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