Sinn Fein is ready to enter a candidate in the Irish Presidential election – or back someone who can give the established parties a run for their money.

Party president Gerry Adams has told the annual Ard Fheis meeting in Belfast that Sinn Fein should contest the October election.

Adams told over 2,000 delegates that the Irish electorate is looking to Sinn Fein for leadership. His opinion is that the party should endorse a candidate.

“Sinn Fein should support the nomination of a candidate who is capable of winning the support of progressive and nationalist opinion,” said Adams.

“And who will reflect the broad republican spirit of the Irish people at this time. The incoming Ard Chomhairle (party leadership) will consider this matter,” he added.

Former Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture Michelle Gildernew and Dublin deputy Mary Lou McDonald are the frontrunners to win a nomination to run for Sinn Fein as a replacement for Mary McAleese.

Adams also addressed the meeting on Ireland’s current economic problems.

“The economic crisis is dominating all our lives, from the very young to the very old,” said Adams.

“This week, 575 workers lost their jobs in Waterford and the announcement of the immediate closure of Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta with the loss of 130 jobs will be yet another devastating blow to Gaeltacht regions.

“Thousands are leaving our shores taking their youth, enthusiasm and skills to other countries.”

The Sinn Fein leader also accused the current Irish government of handing sovereignty over to the EU and the IMF after the recent bail-out.

“The job losses are mounting and still Fine Gael and Labour plough ahead with their policies of re-capitalizing the banks and slashing public spending,” stated Adams.

“Where is their jobs plan? What kind of a society will be left at the end of this crisis if there is no public airline, no public bus company, no public energy body, no post services, no forestry body.

“What kind of society will be left when they have sold off our performing, essential state assets and natural resources for next to nothing to private interests? The Irish people deserve better. And they know it.”

Adams also claimed that people in the Republic had voted against Fianna Fail’s disastrous policies and against the EU/IMF deal in the last general election.

“They did so in huge numbers, and they elected Fine Gael and Labour in good faith that they would honor their election promises. But the Coalition Government has betrayed the trust of the people who elected them,” he said.