Sports

Mary Lou McDonald nominated as next leader of Sinn Féin

Mary Lou McDonald nominated as next leader of Sinn Féin

Mary Lou McDonald is set to become the president of Sinn Fein, replacing Gerry Adams who is stepping down after 34 years as the dominant figurehead of Irish republicanism.

Thanking party members today, Deputy McDonald said: "I want to say at the very outset that I don't for a moment underestimate the scale of this undertaking - both on a personal level and indeed on a political level".

"The truth is my freinds, I don't fill Gerry's shoes", she said, adding: " but I've brought my own and together we will walk a journey that will lead to a United Ireland".

"This is also my last Ard Fheis as Uachtaran Sinn Fein - I will be asking the incoming Ard Comhairle to agree a date in 2018 for a special Ard Fheis to elect a new Uachtaran". The 69-year-old is a key figure in the Irish republican movement, which seeks to take Northern Ireland out of the U.K. and unite it with the Republic of Ireland.

McDonald presents a fresh face for the party and has no historic links to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the now-defunct paramilitary wing of Sinn Fein responsible for more than 1 700 deaths during the conflict known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

He described politics in Northern Ireland as "very polarised and very toxic".

"In my view, this is not good for anyone expect a small minority of bigots" he said.

A fresh talks process aimed at restoring the power-sharing government at Stormont is due to begin on Wednesday.

"It is not in the interests of the vast majority of citizens that political parties should retreat to our trenches and hunker down comfortably in the certainty of our respective positions", he said. "Leadership means knowing when it is time for change and that time is now", said the 69-year-old Adams at the time.

"Standing still is not an option".


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