Mayor of New York declares today as 'Gerry Adams Day'

Bill de Blasio praised the former Sinn Féin leader as someone who "did something truly heroic and truly revolutionary"

Mayor of New York declares today as 'Gerry Adams Day'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio honours Gerry Adams. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The mayor of New York has declared today as 'Gerry Adams Day'.

Bill de Blasio made the pronouncement at a St Patrick's Day breakfast in the city, which was attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar among others.

Following a short speech by the Taoiseach, Mr de Blasio took to the microphone to praise former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who was also in attendance as a guest of honour.

The NYC mayor observed: "I honour Gerry Adams for his lifelong pursuit of the goal that makes so much sense - the goal of a united Ireland."

"Gerry has in all he's done accepted that a life of fighting for change came with peril, came with the threat of violence, and the actual experience of being attacked. [It] came with condemnation, it came with arrest and time in jail... but it did not deter him.

"At the same time we could say, that his most revolutionary act was to be an architect of peace... because peace requires opening a hand, and that can be a challenge in every way."

The mayor suggested Deputy Adams' "words, action and example continue to animate many" despite his recent decision to step down from his leadership role.

Mr de Blasio added: "History will remember Gerry Adams for being one of the people who did something truly heroic and truly revolutionary, who found a path to peace where others could not envision it. So many are alive today because of that."

Presenting a proclamation highlighting the life and achievements of the former Sinn Féin leader, the New York Mayor highlighted a sentence saying: "I, Bill de Blasio, mayor of the City of New York, do herby do proclaim March 17th 2018 in the City of New York as Gerry Adams Day."

Mary Lou McDonald, the new leader of Sinn Féin, was also in attendance at today's event, which came ahead of the St Patrick's Day parade in the city.