Election 2015

Election profile: Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin leader

Gerry Adams Image copyright AP
Image caption Gerry Adams has been the leader of Sinn Féin for more than 30 years

Gerry Adams has led Sinn Féin, Northern Ireland second biggest political party, since 1983.

During the Troubles, some viewed him as a hate figure For others, he was a peacemaker - a man who shifted his movement from violence to peaceful politics.

He was born in October 1948 in Ballymurphy, west Belfast, to a family steeped in Irish republicanism.

He became an active supporter of civil rights.

In 1972 Mr Adams was interned - imprisoned without charge - but later released to take part in ceasefire talks with the government.

In 1983, he became West Belfast MP on an abstentionist platform, refusing to take his seat at Westminster.

Soon after, he supplanted Ruairí Ó Brádaigh as president of Sinn Féin, an all-Ireland party, and in 1986, dropped Sinn Féin's policy of refusing to sit in the Irish parliament.

From the late 1980s onwards, Mr Adams was a key figure in the Northern Ireland peace process, initially following contact by the then-Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader John Hume and subsequently with the Irish and British governments.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Adams has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA

The Hume-Adams process eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire that provided the backdrop against which the Good Friday Agreement was brokered four years later.

That paved the way for devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Mr Adams won a seat in the Irish Parliament (Dáil) in 2011 after stepping down from his jobs at Westminster and Stormont. He is not standing in this year's general election.

In October 2013, his brother, Liam Adams, was convicted of raping and abusing his daughter, Áine, in the 1970s.

The Attorney General, John Larkin, subsequently said he would review a decision not to prosecute Gerry Adams for allegedly withholding information on his brother.

Key priorities

Sinn Fein

Main pledges

  • End austerity - negotiate to "restore" £1.5bn for job creation and strong public services
  • Return economic powers for a fair recovery, including full control over income tax
  • Fully implement welfare protection in Stormont House agreement
  • Continue to campaign for border poll on Irish unity

In 2014, Mr Adams was arrested in connection with the IRA murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville in 1972.

He was freed without charge and a file sent to the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland. Mr Adams has always strongly denied the allegation.

For years, Mr Adams has stated repeatedly that he has never been a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).

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