Mary Lou McDonald To Be Confirmed As New Sinn Féin Leader

Arnold Nichols
February 11, 2018

Friday's talks were Gerry Adams' last as Sinn Fein president as he prepares to formally step down as leader on Saturday having led the party since 1983.

In her speech Saturday, McDonald said with the party's new leadership, it was time to bring "innovative and modern ways of advancing our politics", reports The Guardian.

Adams, who announced in November he was stepping down after nearly 35 years, was the key figure in the peace process that saw the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the formation of a power-sharing government between Northern Ireland's pro-British and republican factions.

"The war is over", McDonald told party members in a speech in which she quoted American poet and civil rights champion Maya Angelou and praised Adams as a "political giant".

Mr Adams said: "We want to see a referendum on Irish unity as part of the Good Friday Agreement". My political mentor. An inspirational leader.

McDonald said she grew up watching Adams, 69, on television and could not fill his shoes but would instead make her own mark.

The idea of Irish unity has become more prevalent since Britain made a decision to leave the European Union, Gerry Adams has said. "Those people who admire me will continue to admire me".

"Irish unity, in our time!"

"It is still there of course and we want rid of it in any form - but people have just been reminded how good that has been".

Gerry Adams regrets first IRA ceasefire took until 1994 to happen

Founded in Dublin in 1905, Sinn Fein has gone through several splits and reinventions to survive as the oldest brand in Irish politics.

"We must only agree that the past is never again repeated", she said. Sinn Fein has shared power in Northern Ireland in spells since 2007. And ultimately to win Irish unity'. But she also focused on Sinn Fein's founding principle: a united Ireland.

Adams has since pulled Sinn Fein out of a power-sharing coalition with the DUP over thahandling of a green energy scheme scandal.

The British government, which is overseeing the talks with the Irish government, has taken steps towards ruling the region directly from London for the first time in a decade, setting its budget late past year.

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Féin's leader in the North, was also confirmed as the party's new deputy leader - taking over from Deputy McDonald.

Who is Mary Lou McDonald?

From an upper class neighbourhood in Dublin, she attended a private Catholic school before studying English Literature, European Integration and Human Resource Management.

After leaving university, the politician ran for the leadership unopposed and had served as deputy leader since February 2008.

Founded in 1905, Sinn Fein is the third largest party in terms of the number of the seats it now holds both in the lower house and the upper house of the parliament in Ireland.

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