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MAIN Arrow to People in the News People in the News Arrow to Gerry Adams Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams Born Gerard Adams, Jr. on October 6, 1948 in West Belfast, the Sinn Féin leader and Parliament Member for West Belfast made international headllines in 2005 for his part in the historic announcement of the complete disarmament by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 2005.

The move marked the first time since the founding of the Irish state that the IRA has agreed to end an armed struggle.

Furthering the cause by purely political means, Adams continued to triumph by helping push through a Sein Finn motion calling for support of policing in Northern Ireland in January 2007.

Three months later, Adams met with Ian Paisley of the Protestant's Democratic Unionist Party in another historic breakthrough to forge a joint governmental platform.


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Born into a strongly activist Catholic family, Adams attended St. Mary's Christian Brothers School and later worked as a bartender, but became increasingly involved in the Irish republican movement, joining Sinn Féin and Na Fianna Éireann in 1964.

As a result of the 1971 Special Powers Act in which the UK introduced internment without trial, Adams was arrested and briefly jailed in 1972 on the Maidstone, a British prison ship.

He was released in order to take part in peace talks in 1972, but was again arrested and jailed from 1973 to 1977 at Long Kesh internment camp, and again briefly in 1978.

That same year, Adams was elected vice president of Sinn Fein, when he began to veer more toward non-violent and political solutions for a united Ireland, eventually leading Sinn Fein as its president in 1983.

The following year, Adams was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt by loyalist gunmen, but survived the attack to eventually elevate Sinn Fein in the 1990's from suspected IRA front to a begrudgingly respected political movement.

Moving closer to a peaceful settlement, negotiations took place between the UK and Irish governments in a power-sharing agreement that resulted in the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and endorsed by both voters in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Despite the popular settlement, sporadic IRA violence continued and in 2004 Adams became a lightening rod of official dissent over a Belfast bank heist that was blamed on the IRA.

This was followed by another scandal pointing to IRA involvement in the January 2005 murder of a Catholic man outside a Belfast bar.

Sinn Féin and the IRA initially denied any involvement, but later suspended or expelled 10 members linked to the killing. Subsequently, Adams became the brunt of more outrage in Dublin and London.

He also suffered setbacks in American support when, on a March 2005 trip to Washington, he was snubbed by both President Bush and Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy who refused to see Adams on his traditional St. Patrick's Day visit.

Since then, Adams reportedly has stepped up the pressure within his own party to pursue its goals exclusively through politics.

The resulting announcement on July 28, 2005 of the IRA's total disarmament was immediately hailed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as "step of unparalleled magnitude" and by Adams himself as a "defining point in the search for a lasting peace with justice."

Two years later, Adams continued to forge a policy that veered away from armed strife to political compromise by helping to push through an historic Sein Fein vote in January 2007 to support policing in Northern Ireland for the first time in the party's history.




Related News, Pictures & Biographies:

BBC News - Profile: Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams - Wikipedia

Sinn Féin: Gerry Adams MP

Searc's Web Guide - Gerry Adams



Famous Quotes:

Mrs. Windsor can come and go as she wants.
on a visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Northern Ireland.

Making peace, I have found, is much harder than making war.

 

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