Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Medicine | By Rogelio Lindsey

Sinn Fein's next generation takes the reins

Sinn Fein's next generation takes the reins

After almost 35 years at the head of the Irish republican party, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is set to be replaced by his deputy, Mary Lou McDonald, in party elections next month.

The change represents a major shift for Sinn Fein, so closely associated with Adams' leadership, which started in November 1983.

It is for Sinn keep a united Ireland on the political agenda, south and north.

Speaking in Belfast, the president-elect told supporters that Irish unity was "the best solution, the best collective arrangement" and that she believed it could be done "in an atmosphere that isn't toxic or bigoted...but is...respectful".

"I know I have big shoes to fill taking on the role from Gerry Adams and I know that is impossible but I have brought my own shoes and together, with all of the party membership, we will walk on a journey that will lead to Irish unity".

Sinn Fein's high council met in Belfast today to formally ratify the nominee for president and a special party conference to elect the new leader will be held next month.

Ms McDonald has been a TD for Dublin Central since 2011. "I know we have a job to do to convince them of that, but I know we are more than fit for that task", she said.

Several party members took to Twitter to express their support for Ms McDonald.

Sinn Fein's new leader has called on followers to "build our new Ireland".

I am proud and honoured to be nominated for Uachtarán Shinn Féin.

She also said: "I believe we are capable of achieving anything that we set our minds to".

The party was last led by a woman back in 1937, when Margaret Buckley took charge, strengthening the relations between the party and the IRA during her 13-year tenure.

Just days before the start of the new talks process, Mr Adams said there was "no merit" in disengaging from the conversations with unionists.

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