Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams announced yesterday that he will step down from the leadership role as part of the party’s ten year plan.

Adams did not give a time frame for his departure as president, but he did suggest that it was a matter of not “if, but when he will allow someone else to take over as leader,” the Irish Examiner reported.

Speaking with reporters as he arrived at a Sinn Fein think-in in Co. Meath, Adams described his party as “in transition.” The think-in gathered party officials and grassroots members together to develop a strategy for the next decade.

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"Part of that will see a change of leadership, but we will come to this. It's a matter for the party. It's a matter of course in the first instance for myself, whether or not I would allow my name to go forward," he said.

“We are a party in transition. I have made it very, very clear. So it isn't question of if I will step down, it’s a question of when I step down and we have a plan."

However, he declined to say when this shift in power would take place, joking with the journalists present that "the problem is if we tell you, you would tell everyone else."

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Adams, 67, has been president of Sinn Fein for 33 years, since 1983 – first as an absentionist Westminster MP for Belfast West, then as MLA for Belfast West in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Since 2011, he has served as a TD for Co. Louth in Dáil Éireann.

Part of the Sinn Fein party’s 10 year plan will see Adams step down from the leadership role.Sinn Fein Ireland / Flickr