From militant to statesman. That’s been the journey for Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who at age 16 joined the fight against British rule in Northern Ireland. In the decades since, Adams has been shot, jailed, labeled a terrorist, and celebrated as a voice for the aspirations of Irish nationalists.
For many years, Adams was known for his close links to the Irish Republican Army. Then in the mid 1990s, he began secret talks with his political opponents that eventually produced the Good Friday Agreement and brought a measure of peace and prosperity to Northern Ireland. Today, Adams is at the center of a standoff between the IRA and the Ulster Unionists over giving up arms, an issue that threatens to upset the fragile peace that Adams has fought for.
Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland