Gerry Adams to outline "future intentions" for Sinn Féin leadership

He says the party wants to be in government in both the Republic and Northern Ireland

Updated 15.10

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will outline his plans to step down after the party's Ard Fheis in November.

Mr Adams was speaking at a pre-Dáil think-in, in which he said the party  wants to be in government in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.

He has previously said he wants to lead Sinn Féin into the next election, but has revealed a 10-year plan for the party - including his own future intentions.

Mr Adams said: "Sinn Féin is currently finalising our ten-year plan. This has been the focus of much internal discussion for the last year.

"It is about preparing the party for the next ten years and to ensure that we are better able to achieve our strategic objectives.

"At this event in this venue last year Martin McGuinness made it clear that we had a plan for orderly leadership change.

"None of us knew that Martin would become terminally ill and that we would meet this year without him.

"We don't have time to reflect on these mysteries of life and death this morning or on the loss of such a wonderful comrade and leader.

"Suffice to say that we miss him deeply.

"It is our intention to unveil at the Ard Fheis in November the plan that he helped to formulate.

"I will be allowing my name to go forward for the position of Uachtarán Shinn Féin. 

"And if elected I will be setting out our priorities and in particular our planned process of generational change, including my own future intentions", he told delegates.

Mr Adams also told delegates: "Sinn Féin is seeking the support of all parties in the Oireachtas for a committee on Irish Unity.

"We will also be bringing forward a White Paper on Irish Unity. And we want to see a referendum on unity in the next five years".

Reaction to any potential leadership change has been swift.

Health Minister Simon Harris told reporters Fine Gael will not enter government with Sinn Féin, irrespective of who is leading the party.

"I think we saw Mary-Lou McDonald's view on a number of issues during the Mairia Cahill issue... which shows that while she might present herself as the modernising face of Sinn Féin, her views mirror those of Gerry Adams.

"They're two sides of the one coin.

"It's the policy platform of Sinn Féin, it's ambivalence on certain very important issues: in relation to security and well-being and protection of people in this country - and it's their policies that would bankrupt the nation that concern us.

"My party has no intention of being in government in any manner or guise ever with the Sinn Féin party".

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's youngest public representative has announced her resignation from the party.

Limerick Councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy has blamed a 'hostile and toxic' environment on her decision to leave.

In a statement, the 23-year-old has also accused the party of intimidation and bullying - adding that her resignation 'won't be the last'.

She will continue to serve as an independent councillor for Limerick City and County Council.