How can Gerry Adams be an MP and a TD at the same time? – Updated

The answer is that the Labour Party (specifically Peter Mandleson who was Secretary of State at the time, and George Howarth who was Junior Minister) made it so.

The House of Commons Disqualification Act provided that a person could be an MP and a member of a legislature in any other Commonwelth country. Why is another question. The Disqualifications Act 2000 added the Republic of Ireland to that provision. Why is an interesting question.

Here is the debate
when the Bill was considered in Committee of the whole house.


As noted, it turns out that he will resign his seat in Parliament if he gets elected to the Dail, perhaps as a result of conflicting legislation in the Republic (but I don’t know).

  • MichaelMac

    The answer is that he will not be a TD and MP at the same time.

  • Cynic

    What is given can, of course, be taken away

  • medillen

    Brilliant strategic move.

  • alley cat

    Adams is to resign from both seats in NI

  • MichaelMac

    At the time of the next general election in the 26 counties he will resign his seat in West Belfast.

  • dennis

    of course the Tories could change this if they wanted to

  • White Horse

    Why doesn’t he resign the leadership in the process?

  • So if Adams benefits from this law can we call it Gerry/Mandle-ing?

    I’ll get my coat.

  • Alan Maskey

    What total and utter contempt for the people of West Belfast.
    The people of Louth have a chance now to stand up for IRA victims, and to say that there is no more room in the South for spongers, hypocrties and liars, to say: Gerry Gerry Gerry! OUT! OUT! OUT!
    Fianna Fail must be laughing. Let’s hope they get together with Fine Gael and keep the liar out.
    Even if the worst happens and the people of Louth fail, he will still only be a marginal figure.
    The Labour Sticks, FG and FF must a l say: no room for PSF in government.
    The people must say: Go home, you bum, go home.

  • Chris Donnelly

    You appear to be in quite a frenzy over this move.

    Question would now appear to be redundant: Adams announced he’s to resign from Stormont and Westminster.

  • medillen

    Nervous Alan?

  • Dr Concitor

    According to the SF website, Irish legislation stops someone being an MP and a TD at the same time, so if GA wins in Louth he will stand down in W Belfast.

  • MichaelMac

    Contempt for the people of West Belfast? Was it not you whop referred to them as ‘disability freaks’?

    At least try and be consistent. Your mock concern isn’t very convincing.

  • slug

    It is great that Gerry is leaving NI politics.

    Good riddance.

  • Aldamir

    Judging from the BBC reports of Gerry Adams’ decision it seems that he will step down as an MP, so the question here seems purely theoretical. I wonder will he wait until he is elected in Louth or step down now/soon to convince the voters there that he is more than a blow-in….

  • Alan Maskey

    Chris: Am I really in a frenzy? As you are from South Armagh, maybe you can ask Gerry to give back the rest of the bodies when he does the stumps arpound H’cross..
    You worship this man, your cult leader Adams like he is a God.
    His move shows contempt for both the people of Louth and West Belfast. Nice one Gerry.
    He can say he is following in the footsteps of Dev but that is not true. He says he is entering the Southern electoral system because he has new ideas to contribute. No he has not. He has one tune: Peace Process, when many voters were in primary school. He has nothing to contribute to the economy. He is, at best, a very flawed pedigree.
    PSF’s latest economic programme is a shoddy copy of that done by Eamonn Smullen in the early 1970s for the Sticks. A vote for PSF can only be seen as either a protest vote or a vote by leeches.

    Ex male bonu
    . If Adams sticks his head above the parapet, he will be held to account. Sure the PSF election team will swarm across the border (after collecting the bru of course) but Adams is in a lose lose situation.
    PSF is all about his ambitions. At most, he can become a TD. If any Southern party allows PSF into government, which is what this self obsessed narcissist wants, hopefully that party will be wiped out.
    A political realignment is needed in the South. But it must be a merger of the good to keep out the bad.
    Nor wil he change the fortuntes of PSF in Leinster House. Their TDs are inarticulate Adans yes men. Good in a back alley brawl maybe. At cabinet, definitely not.

  • “Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has today announced his decision to put his name forward for the Sinn Féin nomination for the Louth constituency at the next General Election.”

    “But after thoughtful consideration, and with the support of colleagues, I have decided to put my name forward for the Louth. If elected for this constituency I will work and stay here and travel home when possible.

    This means that I will be stepping down as an MLA for west Belfast. My replacement will be chosen this week. I am proud and honoured to have represented the people of west Belfast in the Assembly. I will remain as MP until the next Leinster House election.”


  • Cynic

    As the people of West Belfast contemplate another day in Paradise what will they do without the Guidance of The Great Bearded one?

    But Gerry’s accumulative has always been good. I suspect he realises that SF vote in De North has plateaued so now is a good time to go and blame those that follow for buggering it up. I expect Marty to follow suit soon!!!

  • Jimmy

    “I will remain as MP until the next Leinster House election.”

    Or Dail election as it’s sometimes called.

    I suppose it would be useful if he had a close family member able to brief him about the constituency party. This is going to be fun.

  • John Rasper

    ‘Even if the worst happens and the people of Louth fail’

    My word Alan, you make it sound as if the electorate are nothing more than sub-human pawns in a game dictated by commentators and mouthpieces like yourself.

    You may not have respect for the candidate, but at least respect the voters. It is a democracy, after all.

    The hypocisy of your comment rings true reading your attempedly powerful opening line ‘what total and utter contempt for the people of west belfast’: speak to the people and they will listen etc etc. Then a few lines later you make it clear that you care very little about how constituents decide at an election.


  • Chris Donnelly


    Unless Phoenix Arizona has been moved to south Armagh, I think you’ll find my connection to that area is limited to a couple of memorable liaisons with members of the finer sex from that particular district back in the day……

  • Michaeld

    Is this the departure of Gerry Adams from the politics of Northern Ireland? In the disguise of ‘coming to the aid’ of the south in it’s time of economic distress? He leaves the assembly to Martin McGuinness and the rest and he is replaced as MP for West Belfast. It certainly looks like it!

  • slug

    Yes, that is what has happened. In a way it is a vote of confidence in the NI Assembly and NI Executive. His main contributions there were limited when the thing was working, so this is a sign he believes it has bedded in.

    The Dail is a kind of retirement home for him.

  • Fearglic

    i think Tom Hartley will make a brill MP for West Belfast. lets move on to the future!

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    Who takes over the west belfast seat will be interesting, ive a feeling Alex Maskey will step in there

  • MichaelMac

    Another prediction of SF electoral slippage. I suppose if you repeat it often enough then you might be able to get it right in a few years.

    Other than your own fevered imagination why say the same of MMcG. He simply dominates the Assembly.

  • Michaeld

    It is his exit — something which many in Sinn Fein have hoped for since he became so scandal-prone — Liam Adams, the disappeared etc. Big Ian is gone and now so too has Big Gerry.
    The electorate in the south is very volatile but shows little sign of moving towards Sinn Fein. Louth could be very interesting indeed — it is the place most associated with the brother Liam. He should be elected there but it is not West Belfast.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The problem up here for the party will be he will only be half gone, but no-one really taking his place.

  • Fearglic

    i also sense that Alex Maskey will step in. But I hope not. I bet you Atwood is very excited now.

  • saffron

    Watch the frenzy, the establishment in both parts of this island will run scared and strike out! When will they learn – in the westminister election he increased his percentage of the vote! Maggy goes to London and Gerry heads to Dublin!Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the all island arena, Grab a front row seat as the countdown to a United Ireland has begun!

  • slug

    Well i guess McGuinness is the NI leader.

    Adams could fail to energise the 26 county electorate and end up looking like dismal failure.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There’s feck all chance of the Stoops coming anywhere near to winning in a Westminster election.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Forgive me for thinking that the MP for West Belfast should primarily be a matter for the voters of West Belfast.
    And the TD for Louth primarily a matter for the voters of Louth.
    I have no wish to subvert their views.
    The BBC reports that he will stand down from Assembly and Westminster before the election in the Republic so he wont actually be in both legislatures.
    The choice of new man/woman in Assembly will be an interesting pointer (Tom Hartley?) or will Paul Butler likely to lose out in Lagan Valley take on the Westminster role.

    But I dont think anybody actually likely to vote for Mr Adams or indeed SF will be as outraged as Mr Shilliday at the prospect of Mr Adams being in two legislatures. Its synthetic anger.
    The key thing is that he would be elected to one, two or ten legislatures.
    Unlike………Lord Ken Maginness, Lord Jim Molyneaux, Lord Dennis Rogan, Laird Laird Laird……etc.
    Curious when being elected to a legislature is actually more controversial than being appointed to a Legiislature by Mrs Windsor, Head of State thru her birth.

  • Oracle

    Aye if it’s using TD appearances in the Dail as an excuse to spend more time in Dublin away from his Belfast family I’d agree.

  • Oracle

    wonder if you kept an eye on his time spent in Dublin with his actual time spent in the Dail would they tally??

  • Barry the Blender

    Sadly that is true

  • joe bryce

    Call me naive, if you like, but what would be so dreadful – from anyone’s standpoint – about recognising the janus-nature of NI by allowing election to both national parliaments? I would like to see SF MP’s active in Westminster: I would like to see the DUP sitting in the Dail, or at least in the Seanad as apparently Gordon Wilson and Seamus Mallon have done. We are all in Europe now, and sovereignty is pooled everywhere. The governance of NI is subject to Dublin veto (necessarily in view of the history), so surely it is in the interests of all that there be a northern voice in that government? And, republicans, England Scotland and Wales will always be Ireland’s neighbours, why spurn the chance to speak in their Parliament?

  • percy

    is it possible you could update from the SF wewbsite.
    The idea is you get a hard-copy from the original
    then expand upon it…
    It serves no-one to keep guessing .
    Is also out of bounds same as for peteb

  • Dr Concitor

    According to the polls SF support as remained steady at ~10% during the financial meltdown in the south, with labour the big winner. This is a move by SF to be a major player in Irish politics. Will GA make that big a difference? Are they in such a mess that they will turn to SF, whose track record on administrative competence in the North would not be exactly inspiring.

  • old school

    I’m sure those standing against Adams in Louth will point out, how, after almost 30 years as M.P for West Belfast, he leaves the area the Mother of all Economic Basketcases.
    An area of high unemployment (unless you’re a PSF Aaparatchik).
    High alcohol abuse.
    Social decay.
    High State reliance and dependency.

  • pippakin

    Interesting times, part of me is annoyed its him and that he will stand down as an MP if elected to the Dail. I think it would have been, to say the least, interesting to see him in both! but it was never practical, or given the financial circumstances in the south, acceptable,

    It is possibly more that he sees himself now as an ‘elder statesman’ and for that to be fully achieved and endorsed he has to be in the Dail.

  • old school

    Does Adams still have that 2nd home (or is it 3rd) up in the Cooley mountains?

  • old school

    Unlike in his West Belfast cocoon constituency, where debate is stifled and hard questions are suppressed, Adams will be asked hard questions and the debate, particularly on the economy, will be tough.
    He can’t rely on folksy anecdotes and photo ops.

  • Alan Maskey

    It is best we don’t speak of Cooley in connection with Adams or we might be black body bagged from the site. We have to remember who the victim here is: one Gerry Adams MP/TD/OBE.

  • paul

    thers no chance of tom hartley becoming mp of west belfast. hes not liked, inside and out. must be the stoops putting this one out.

  • It is the most exciting thing to happen and the first time for many a year (if ever) that GA has faced a real election. He is such a cautious person this is almost, odd.

  • Cynic

    Unusual. Gerry days he’s resigning to spend less time with his family.

    Or perhaps even he cant stand living in West Belfast any longer.

    Perhaps they will move Gerry Kelly to the West. He has little chance in North Belfast and with the same name it wont be too hard on the pencil lickers in the electorate to know where to sign.

  • Marie Dooley

    Yes, because Gerry Adams singlehandedly created all the social and economic problems that exist in west Belfast. They have absolutely nothing to do with:
    – decades of Unionist discrimination
    – the ongoing effects of a traumatic military conflict
    – decades of underinvestment and neglect under British Direct Rule
    – several years of cuts to public spending by successive British governments

    I live in west Belfast and have seen the work that Adams has done in terms of supporting the development of the community and voluntary sector here – which has tried to address all of these issues and more in the face of active neglect by the British government and Executive departments such as the DSD.

    Campaigning for the necessary resources for suicide prevention work, supporting the Ford workers, demanding an economic stimulus package for the west and developing community safety projects that can reduce anti-social crime are just some of the local issues he has recently been leading on.

    The fact is west Belfast doesn’t exist in a bubble – it’s part of the economic and social ‘basket case’ that is the six counties, where the economy is totally distorted and local politicians don’t even have the necessary tools to set the economic agenda and spending priorities.

    Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin are the ones who have been leading the campaign for control of the economy to be devolved to the Assembly to actually start to change this.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s rather odd to say the least.
    Can he singlehandedly solve Ireland’s financial woes?

  • Marie Dooley

    If you think the west Belfast community will not understand and support this move in the interests of furthering the republican struggle, then you’re the one showing ‘total and utter contempt’ for them

  • Cynic


  • alanmaskey

    His supporters think he is God. People speak about the God of the Gaps. Considering the tight corners he has talked himself out of, he is certainly a one for the narow gap.

    Rergarding the queastion, he can be an abstentionist MP for all the parliamens in the world. It is not that he actually has to do anything.

  • pippakin


    As Cynic has said: No, but do you think that is what this is about?

    Then again, he would stand up to the EU.

  • PaddyReilly

    Of course the Tories could change this if the Liberals wanted to, you mean.

  • pippakin

    This attacking the man is bothering me. I’m no supporter but that is mostly because of the outstanding allegations and the inability of SF to deal with most of them, not just the ones about GA.

    Gerry Adams was and may still be vital to the peace process. It is true to say that if it were not for him and Martin McGuinness many more Irish people would have died.

    John Hume wins Irelands greatest and Gerry Adams gets abused, that’s not right.

  • dodrade

    Does this decision make it more likely that Unionism can win back an assembly seat in West Belfast?

  • Percy, I linked to the SF site at 2:28 pm. I prefer to link to the horse’s mouth.

  • pippakin



  • Nunoftheabove

    As opposed to the lying, criminal, corrupt incompetent FF filth that prop up the bankrupt free state at the moment you mean ? If the citizens in Louth and everywhere else within the south had any self-respect they’d already be chasing the chancers in Leinster House down to the shoreline at the end of pitch-forks.

    And surely you hold the majority of the people of west belfast in contempt for electing Adams in in the first place – why the bogus ’empathy’ now ?

    Are you David Vance in disguise ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    I agree that by and large SF are incompetent – particularly noticeably so on economic matters. In what respect though does this make them significantly different from the sleazy, lying, corrupt, bloated, self-serving, anti-democratic self-satisfied bullshitters of the current Fianna Fail ? Would the re-alignment you have in mind have them included in the ‘good’ or the ‘bad’ camp ?

    And while we’re at it – and it by now it should be plain enough that I have no brief for Adams and company – in what respect, if any, does being a self-obsessed narcissist make him significantly different from you ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    It would certainly be better if you didn’t speak of it. Or preferably of anything at all.

  • ulsterfan

    He has turned his back on West Belfast and sees no political future there.

    If he fails in Louth perhaps he will accept a seat in the House of Lords.
    Stranger things have happened!!!!

  • Mr Crumlin

    As a blow in to Crumlin from West Belfast I think this is a huge gamble for Gerry – I hope it pays off.

    Over the next week or so we will hear all types of conspiracy theories of why he has done this – if it works it will be a masterstroke.

    As for replacement MLA? What about Bobby Storey???

    As for MP – Alex Maskey would get my vote – if I still lived there that is.

  • Mr Crumlin


  • Mr Crumlin

    Less likely – Gerrys personal vote made vote management more difficult – this should cement 5 seats.

  • alanmaskey

    How is it a master stroke? Null points until you explain why giving the two fingers to your electorate is any other than a self satisfying stroke wich a 62 year old Catholic should not engage in.

  • Mr Crumlin

    So what part of WB are you from old school?

  • Martyr or Messiah of d’crisis. What do you think

  • liam charles
  • D

    I think its a very bold move by Gerry. I wish people would actually move forward than spouting the same sectarian nonsense on here over and over. As a young voter I certainly would vote adams if he stood in Dublin North. Its about time he came and sat in the Dail, and brought that unique GA personality with him.

    PS Did anyone see Kelly on Newsnight during the week, very amusing.

  • old school

    If elected, will we see him taking off in his helicopter every morning??
    No Mr Crumlin, of course I’m not from West Belfast. You may have noticed the absence of robotic, Andytown News type drivel in all my posts.

  • wee buns

    Very good point.

  • alanmaskey

    Old School, make a profile so we can give you 10/5 for that excellent helicopter jibe.

  • John Greene

    This has the hint of desperation about it. An attempt to steady the collapsing party machine in the South and inject momentum but in to ‘the project’ in the South.
    I suspect it will fail

  • pippakin

    joe bryce

    Sound idea

  • Dixie Elliott

    Just thinking out loud if thats alright? Could it be a case that there’s secret discussions going on to come up with a form of wording that would allow PSF to take their seats in Westminster?

    And Gerry being the cute bugger that he is, wouldn’t want to be among the first members of SF to sit their arses where arses were sworn would never to sit.

    Of course should that happen another form of words would have to be drawn up to make it look to the grassroots that this was just another ingenious plan in the SF strategy for a United Ireland.

  • Cynic

    Hoi ….I am the cynic here

  • Cynic

    Oh you are a suspicious thing. Gerry would never engage in secret talks like that or tyr to manipulate the SF sheep in that way.

    Anyway …… who will it be in West Belfast? Mary Lou? Babs? The party will chose this week after Gerry finds time to ‘guide’ them towards the right answer

  • hilerie mcgahill

    Essential move if the six counties are to be detatched from the “United” Kingdom”. Get Sinn Fein into power in the Republic and replace the FF and FG turncoats, get out of the Euro and the EC, and in occupied Ulster the overwhelming majority will want to be rid of the Brits who are ruining their economy and oppressing them, and be at last reunited with their brothers abd sisters in the 26 counties. A nation once again.