Gerard "Gerry" Adams, MLA, MP born 6 October 1948) is an Irish republican politician and abstentionist Westminster Member of Parliament for Belfast West. He is the president of Sinn Féin, the political party at the top of the latest Northern Ireland election polls amidst a three-way split in the traditionally dominant unionist vote. Sinn Féin is the second largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and fifth largest party in the Republic of Ireland.
From the late 1980s onwards, Adams has been an important 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 and then other parties. In 2005, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) indicated that its armed campaign was over and that it is now exclusively committed to democratic politics. Under Adams, Sinn Féin changed its traditional policy of abstentionism towards Oireachtas Éireann, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland, in 1986 and later took seats in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly. However, Sinn Féin retains a policy of abstentionism towards the Westminster Parliament, but since 2002, receives allowances for staff and takes up offices in the House of Commons.