By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat

Gerry Adams has triggered another by-election by resigning his Westminster seat, reports Left Foot Forward's Devolution Correspondent Ed Jacobs.

Parties in Northern Ireland face what will be the third by-election to the Commons so far this term after Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams officially resigned his West Belfast seat to fight the Irish General Election. His move comes following yesterday’s announcement by Taoiseach Brian Cowen that voters in the Republic will go to the polls on March 11th.

In announcing his decision to stand for the Dail in November, Adams made clear his desire to fight what he, and many others believe, are the disastrous economic and financial decisions being taken by the Fianna Fail led Government.

At the time he explained:

“Ireland is at a crossroads. This state is in the midst of a deep economic and social crisis. This Government is probably the most unpopular in the history of the state. It is now implementing bad, deeply damaging policies. It has no mandate whatsoever for this.

“There is a better way. Together we can rebuild Ireland. People need to make a stand against what is happening. We need a better way forward for our country and its people.

“All this imposes a huge responsibility on those of us in positions of political leadership. In the past I have asked people to step forward and to show leadership. I have asked people to make a stand. I believe that it is my duty at this critical time to step forward and do what I have asked of others.

“As Leader of Sinn Féin, I want to be part of the necessary fight-back against bad economic policies in both parts of this island and for a fair, decent and united society for all the people of Ireland.”

In December he was selected to fight the seat of County Louth and East Meath. His resignation from Westminster where he, and his Sinn Fein colleagues do not take their seats in protest at having to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen will trigger a third by-election in less than a year, following those in Oldham East and Saddleworth and the forthcoming election for the Barnsley Central seat.

The election could prove the first attempt to offer a more unified unionist voice in Northern Ireland, following Wednesday’s news that the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party had agreed to work more closely in both North and West Belfast in the forthcoming local and Assembly elections in May.

In a joint statement, the two parties explained:

“Unionist co-operation is not so much about voting pacts and electoral arrangements; rather, it is about Unionist elected representatives committing themselves to engaging and working together, in continuing partnership with the community, in order to ensure co-operation takes place in a real and meaningful way.

“This is by no means short term in nature. It will involve developing long-term strategic positions in relation to social, economic, educational and cultural issues impacting on North and West Belfast communities.”

In last year’s General Election, Adams held the seat with a majority of just over 17,500. A date for the by-election has not yet been set.

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17 Responses to “By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat”

  1. Me

    RT @leftfootfwd: By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat: by @EdJacobs1985

  2. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat

  3. Guerra Eterna

    Gerry Adams dimite del Parlamento británico para presentarse a las elecciones de Irlanda en la lista del Sinn Fein.

  4. Okehampton Labour

    RT @leftfootfwd: By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat: by @EdJacobs1985

  5. Martell Thornton

    By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat: Parties in Northern Ireland face what will be …

  6. Éoin Clarke

    Sinn Féin’s strategy in the North is procedin gnicely. They are on course ot be the largest party in May. If not May, then next time out…

    Their attnetion is focused on the ‘south’ or ROI…

    Adams will take the safe seat of Louth vacated by Authur Morgan.. There wil be another seat for SF in Cavan-Monaghan, the potential of 2 await them in Donegal… SF should retain their Kerry seat, they have a good chance of three in Dublin..

    That is a minium of 9… they’ll be looking to add 3 more to that..

  7. Broken OfBritain

    RT @leftfootfwd: By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat: by @EdJacobs1985

  8. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat

  9. Stephen Lintott

    By-election number 3 as Gerry Adams resigns his Westminster seat | Left Foot Forward

  10. Mr. Sensible

    I can’t believe Sinn Fein still keep their seats given that they don’t take them.

  11. Éoin Clarke

    Mr sensible, Their voters would boycott the elections if they thought Sinn Féin woud take them…

  12. Éoin Clarke

    Brian Cowen will soon quit as leader of Fianna Fáil. This will necessitate the election of a new leader to carry them into the March 11 election. A new leader offers the hope that they will save quite a number of seats. It may also prevent Labour and Fine Gael getting the majority they need to form a coalition. On the face of it this seems unlikely but the new leader will enjoy a lot of unprecedented exposure. There are some popular faces in Fianna Fáil who have been quite critical of the PM. If Lenihan takes the job, he will certainly save as much as 40 if not 50 of the Fianna Fáil seats. The immediate loser could well be Fine Gael and Labour who until now where fighting it out to be the largest party at the next election. Cowen is such a hate figure now in ROI politics that he could take a lot of the poison away from FF if he went quietly. Will he? Yes I think he will. Sinn Féin will be very excited by all of these developments. Although it means they will win win less seats at the next election, it means the result is sure to be tighter. Inevitably, this increases even the smaller parties bargaining power. If there is one feature that dominates Irish politics, it is behind the scenes bargaining.

  13. Liathain

    It’ll be interesting to see how SF do in the upcoming Assembly elections. In the North voters seem to treat the parties much more as a corporate entity then in the south and SF candidates may be faced with some difficult questions over the chaos in education, the NI water mess and the fact we’re paying massive fines to Europe on the basis of how Agriculture has been mishandled. West Belfast is a SF cert but they’ve already lost one MLA due to how they are going about choosing Gerry’s replacement. The ego of a certain former tabloid editor may clash against the attitudes of SF activists in West Belfast yet.

    It is a perfect storm for the opposition in the Republic – a slow painful collapse of a deeply unpopular government, international embarrassment at having to go cap in hand to the IMF (and borrowing money of the Tories – an anathema to the Irish). It’s even better for the left in that the leader of the opposition Enda Kenny is fundamentally unimpressive man with little if any distinguishing features. He commands a front bench made up of his second team after the putsch that wasn’t forced him to sack any spokesperson with a modicum of talent.

    However the reality is FG will be still the largest party after the election, which in itself is a depressing thought.

    Labour has a real opportunity to make the left a force to be reckoned with in the Republic and Gilmore has been playing a blinder.

    On the SF front it will be a good election for them (relatively – they may even break the 10% support barrier).

    SF have been struggling to get more then 5 seats in the Dail (out of a total of 166) and some of their high profile councilors in Dublin (any beyond) have defected.

    Gerry should be ok in Louth but the campaign may prove embarrassing for him seeing as Dundalk is where his brother Liam lived, where many of the bodies of the disappeared have been found and that the daughter of IRA victim Jean McConville is running to highlight they injustice her family has faced.
    Gerry may also find that politics in the south is a different game all together.

    Martin Ferris is facing a difficult challenge in Kerry with the boundary changes taking some of his strongest areas away from him. He’s also been somewhat missing from public life for a while now.

    Sean Crowe is seeking to regain his seat but his result in 2007 (where he lost a third of his vote and subsequently his seat) means he has some serious ground to recover.

    Eoin Ó Broin parachuting into Dublin Mid West may be a smart move but he spectacularly failed to perform in Dun Laoghiare (where he was born and bred – educated in the archetypal elitist school of Blackrock oddly enough – akin in status to Eton) only coming home with 2% of the vote.

    Everyone’s favourite bank manager Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin should hold his seat in Cavan-Monaghan but his candidacy in itself show that SF are facing a generational difficulty in that many areas they just don’t have up and coming candidates (a la Louth).

    All their candidates will have to tackle the fact that SF aren’t seen as credible on the economy, are still seen as the party of punishment beatings and knee cappings and generally don’t attract transfers.

    Still a few more seats for them will mean they don’t have to band together with the independent TD’s to get speaking time in the Dail (which has always been somewhat embarrassing) and should give them a following wind into the Assembly elections in Northern Ireland.

    Although it may be that the Trotskyites in the SWP/SP come home with more seats then SF which in itself would provide some entertainment.

  14. Sean South

    “Sinn Féin’s strategy in the North is proceding nicely”

    Hmmm when was in Martin McGuinness said we’ll have a united Ireland – 2016 wasn’t it?

    Cant really see that happening can you? In fact I don’t see any move what so ever towards a united Ireland, which would count as a mark against Sinn Feins success rate.

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    […] general election in the Republic, Adams is standing for the Dail in the Louth constituency. Relinquishing his West Belfast Westminster seat, however, has triggered a frisson of excitement among […]

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