December 16, 2018

Mary Lou McDonald Takes Over As Sinn Fein Leader Today

11 February 2018, 12:00 | Devin Moran

Round table talks continued on Friday although the two main parties were absent

Round table talks continued on Friday although the two main parties were absent

McDonald became a member of the European Parliament in 2004.

McDonald, 48, the left-wing party's deputy leader, was confirmed last month as successor to Adams, 69, who has dominated the left-wing party since November 1983.

According to the RTE, there was also rapturous applause when MEP Martina Anderson praised the contribution of Gerry Adams to both the party and the peace process.

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

Seen by some as a peacemaker, and by others as a terrorist, Adams said he did not mind what people think of him. "Irish unity in our time". "To win elections, to increase our political strength, to realise our ambition of being in government, North and South".

'We do not want a 32 county free state.

"Now is a time for fresh thinking and bold ideas to take us forward".

She said: "Soon we face into a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment".

Sinn Fein's primary objective is Irish reunification, bringing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland.

McDonald and the newly appointed vice president Michelle O'Neill have been at Stormont all last week as talks continue to rumble on in the hope of restoring the devolved government.

Northern Ireland has been without an executive and assembly for over a year since Sinn Fein withdrew from the power-sharing government, saying it was not being treated as an equal partner by the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Mrs McDonald, who had no rivals for the leadership, has been a TD for Dublin Central since 2011.

McDonald was previously a member of Fianna Fáil, another Irish republican party, although quit to join Sinn Fein in 1998.

She married her husband Martin Lanigan in 1996 and has two children.

She spoke in front of a packed house at the RDS in Dublin outlining her plans as the party completes a generational shift for the former political wing of the IRA.

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