Gerry Adams to step down as Sinn Féin leader next year

He also told his party's Ard Fheis he will not stand in the next Dáil elections

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has announced he will not be standing for the Dáil in the next election.

Speaking at his party's Ard Fheis at the RDS in Dublin, he said this would be has last one as leader.

Mr Adams said he has been privileged to have been part of an amazing leadership.

He told the gathering: "We will grow even stronger in the future. But leadership means knowing when it is time for change.

"That time is now. I will not be standing for the Dáil in the next election.

"Neither will my friend and comrade Martin Ferris.

"I want to thank Martin, Marie and their clann for years of service to the Republic.

"This is also my last Ard Fheis as Uachtarán Sinn Féin.

"I will ask the incoming Ard Chomhairle to agree a date in 2018 for a special Ard Fheis to elect our next Uachtarán.

"I have always seen myself as a team player and a team builder.

"I have complete confidence in the leaders we elected this weekend and in the next generation of leaders.

"I want to thank everyone who has welcomed me into their homes and communities and who have made me part of countless campaigns, countless elections and countless negotiations.

"I firmly believe that one person can make a difference.

"The first step in making a difference is believing that you can be that person.

"One woman – one man – doing their best. That’s what it takes."

Earlier, delegates voted in favour of a motion to call a special Ard Fheis three months after a president's departure.

Previously members would have had to wait for one year after the position was vacated.

Members also passed a motion calling for the 8th Amendment to the Constitution to be repealed.

However they will not be allowed a 'conscience vote' on the issue.

Additional reporting: Juliette Gash