Sinn Féin members gather in Killarney for party Ard Fheis

Sinn Féin members gather in Killarney for party Ard Fheis

Some 1,500 members of Sinn Féin will gather in Killarney this evening for the opening of the party's Árd Fheis.

The two-day conference, which will conclude tomorrow evening with an address by the party leader Gerry Adams, is expected to be dominated by debate on the EU fiscal treaty.

Candidates will debate almost 200 motions on a wide range of topics including Irish unity, jobs and growth as an alternative to austerity, protecting public services, the difficulties facing communities across rural Ireland and the EU treaty.

The theme of the conference is "A New Republic", with the party claiming it will focus on the issues of jobs and growth.

A number of guests will address the Ard Fheis including the head of UNITE Jimmy Kelly, former Vita Cortex worker Helen Crowley, ANC Head of International Relations Naomi Ribbon Mosholi, Palestinian Ambassador Anas Khales, representative of the Basque Abertzale Left party Gorka Elejabarietta, and Terry O’Sullivan, President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Mr Adams will deliver the Presidential Address at 5.30pm tomorrow.

Speaking before the gathering today, Mr Adams said he will not step down as party president before the next general election in 2016.

"The party and I will know when it is the right time for me to leave," he told reporters.

"I'm quite comfortable in doing the job that I am doing because there is such a strong team."

Mr Adams also hit back at Labour after being accused of getting it wrong on major decisions, and said it is "all to play for" in the final days of the referendum campaign.

Labour today mounted posters outside Sinn Féin headquarters - titled 'Wrong Then, Wrong Now' - highlighting how SF had voted for the bank bailout.

"Labour are the ones that are wrong but we are not here to discuss Labour," Mr Adams said.

He admitted he doesn't know if the campaign has done enough to convince the one-third or so of voters yet to make up their minds about the EU fiscal treaty, but said "it's all to play for".

"The establishment haven't put forward one positive argument," he said.

"It's been an entirely negative campaign."

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