Amidst claims that Sinn Fein has become irrelevant in the south of Ireland and rumors that Gerry Adams is facing his political demise, the Sinn Fein leader strongly states that he and his party aren’t going anywhere.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Adams made clear that he has no intention of stepping down from his post as president of the political party, and that Sinn Fein will hold a vital meeting in Navan, County Meath on Monday to plan for the party’s future.
Sinn Fein has been met with various challenges recently, from scathing comments by former party members to calls for Adams to resign.
Sinn Féin Councilor Toireasa Ferris, who recently lost in the European Parliament elections in Munster, gave a forthright and critical analysis of the party’s direction in their newspaper An Phoblacht last month, stating: “too many voters unfortunately see us as a Northern-based party.”
Her comments prompted at least seven Irish political pundits, according to his chief of staff Richard McAuley, to suggest that Adams step down.
Meanwhile, party stalwarts Christy Burke in Dublin, Gerard Foley in Strabane and Dublin councilor Louise Minihan have all resigned, with Minihan saying that Sinn Fein was “becoming largely irrelevant to working people.”
These actions and cutting remarks have had a revitalizing effect on Adams, prompting him to work harder and face his party’s challenges head on.
“I have no intention of standing down,” he told the Irish Times.
“There is work to be done and I intend to do it. I have actually found myself energized as a result of all of that commentary.”
“Some of those people may have axes to grind for reasons I have never fully comprehended. Sometimes people just have to fill space . . .” he added.
Some commenters say that now that the conflicts in Northern Ireland have settled down and the peace process is well under way, Sinn Fein has lost its relevance and excitement that rocketed it to status of the largest political party in the North.
Adams points out that though there have been “surges” in Sinn Fein’s popularity in the past, the party’s success has been building steadily for over 20 years. The political leader added that in both Ireland’s North and South, his party is in for the “long haul.”
Among the issues that will be discussed in Monday’s meeting is Sinn Fein’s wavering prominence in Dublin and the Republic as a whole.
The party recently lost its only European seat in the Republic, its number of seats in the Dail (Irish parliament) went down from five to four and they suffered losses in Dublin council elections.
Adams says that regaining power in Ireland’s capital is imperative. “Dublin is ultra-important because if you can get a critical active campaigning organization there you are more likely to get publicity, to get the media exposure and so on,” he said.
The talks may also touch upon the possibility of Sinn Fein entering a coalition government with Fine Gael, though Adams says that option is merely hypothetical at this stage.
No matter what’s discussed in Monday’s meeting, Adams has made clear that he remains committed to Sinn Fein, and is ready to chart the way to success for his party.