NIreland: Sinn Fein leader to step down after over 30 years

Gerry Adams has announced that he plans to step down as leader of Sinn Fein next year after heading the party for over 30 years.

Adams said in a speech at the party's annual conference in Dublin on Saturday that he will not stand for the next Irish parliamentary election.

The 69-year-old has been party president of Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland's second-largest party, since 1983.

A divisive figure, some have denounced Adams as a terrorist while others hail him as a peacemaker, known around the world as the face of Ireland's republican movement during its shift from violence to peace.

Adams has been accused of being a senior member of the Irish Republican Army, a claim he has long denied.

The party is expected to elect a successor next year.