Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Mary Lou McDonald to lead Sinn Fein after Gerry Adams steps down

Mary Lou McDonald to lead Sinn Fein after Gerry Adams steps down

Mr Adams is stepping down from the position next month and used the occasion to confirm that Ms McDonald is the only candidate proposed to succeed him.

"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 Dublin Central TD was the only person to put her name forward for the role as party' leader before nominations closed on Friday.

He said Ms McDonald was the "ideal candidate" to "lead Sinn Fein into the future".

She told party members Saturday that she "won't fill Gerry's shoes".

"We, together over the coming years, will walk a journey full of opportunities, full of challenges".

"That is not a pipe dream, that is not empty rhetoric, that is the road we are on". We also have to challenge unionism.

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"I have seen right across Ireland the energy, the ingenuity, of republican activists".

She told the crowd it could be done "in an atmosphere that isn't toxic or bigoted" but one which was "respectful".

Adams played a major role in convincing the IRA to disarm as part of the Northern Ireland peace process and masterminded Sinn Fein's rise to become the second-biggest political force north of the border and the third in the south.

Mr. Adams said: "Standing still is not an option, we are agents of change".

"My father worked closely with Mary Lou for many years in the Sinn Fein leadership, and was a huge admirer of her ideas, dedication, and commitment", he said.

Before getting elected to the Dail (parliament), she was an MEP representing the Dublin constituency - becoming Sinn Fein's first MEP in the Republic of Ireland in 2004.

Blevins said: "She's not a woman who anyone would want to take lightly".

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