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Gerry Adams set to outline retirement timetable

Gerry Adams is anticipated to outline a timetable for retirement as he addresses the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin.

The 69-year-old party president's speech to delegates tonight has been billed as "historic and significant".

The republican veteran is expected to provide further details about the ongoing process of leadership transition within the party.

Mr Adams's plan, formulated along with Martin McGuinness before his death earlier this year, has already seen Michelle O'Neill, 40, take the role of Sinn Féin's leader at Stormont.

Mr Adams has held the role of party president since 1983.

He goes before the Ard Fheis to seek re-election every year and that formality is expected to be repeated tonight.

But Mr Adams is then anticipated to signal how long he intends to hold on to the reins of power.

The long-standing MP for west Belfast switched his focus to the Dublin parliament in 2011, becoming a TD for Co Louth.

Sinn Féin has made steady gains in the Irish Republic in recent polls but many believe the prospects of further growth is limited due to the presence of Troubles era figures.

Current deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, 48, is a clear favourite to assume a greater leadership role when Mr Adams eventually steps down as president.

The Ard Fheis in the RDS arena in Dublin will also see the party faithful debate its position on abortion.

Some members are at odds over what policy the party should adopt ahead of next year's referendum in the Irish Republic on the clause of the state's constitution that frames its strict laws on terminations.

It is expected that delegates will vote to liberalise the party's stance somewhat.

The conference is also the first since Mr McGuinness died in March. Tributes to the former IRA commander turned Stormont deputy first minister are expected.

Mr Adams's speech will be broadcast live at 8.30pm.