McDonald to be ratified as new leader of Sinn Féin

Gerry Adams

Party president Gerry Adams, who will step down from his leadership role on Saturday, said: "It isn't sorted out as we speak".

The new leader also spoke about Sinn Fein's stance on the Eighth Amendment.

Mary Lou McDonald has been formally elected as the new president of the party.

She began her tenure with a first speech as leader yesterday vowing to work towards Irish unity "in our time" while noting "there is no value in re-fighting the battles of the past".

But many believe Sinn Fein's popularity among voters has been hindered by the presence of leaders linked to the Troubles, which killed over 3,600 people.

Pro-British Unionists in Northern Ireland, plus political opponents in the Republic, have recently attacked her for not being tough enough on a Sinn Fein member of the British parliament who has quit over a video seen as making fun of a massacre of Protestant workers by Republican gunmen.

Mr. Adams, 69, has been a controversial figure in Irish politics for decades.

During her speech, McDonald, a former member of the European Parliament, also sent out a warning to the British government, saying there could be no hard border after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

She takes over for Adams, a divisive politician who was the face of the Irish republican movement as it shifted from violence to peace.

Mary Lou Mc Donald and Gerry Adams
Image Mary Lou Mc Donald will replace Gerry Adams as Sinn Fein leader

Mr Adams, the world's most recognisable Irish republican, has always been a controversial figure in politics.

He has long denied IRA membership but was released from prison at the organisation's request to attend secret talks with the British Government in 1972.

The Dublin Central TD was officially ratified as the new Sinn Fein leader at a special party conference in the RDS in Dublin on Saturday afternoon. Sinn Féin is the only major party committed to ending the crisis in our health services, in housing and homelessness and in rural communities. "The war is long over". There is no single historical narrative. "We do not have to agree on the past, We must only agree that the past is never again repeated".

However, the government in Northern Ireland collapsed more than a year ago and the two main Irish parties have refused to enter into a coalition with Sinn Fein because of its ties to the IRA.

She added: "We will continue to meet with the DUP and both governments and will re-engage on Monday and I anticipate that talks will conclude next week".

Ms McDonald warned that Brexit represents a real threat to the prosperity, economic, social and political life of Ireland.

McDonald also laid out her positions on the key issues of the day.

"They need to embrace the need for rights for everybody and agree a space where we can all moderate our differences".

"I want us to achieve this with respect, graciousness and generosity", she said. The party she is leading now holds 23 seats out of the total 158 seats in the more powerful and decision-making lower house of the parliament in Ireland and 27 seats out of the total 90 in Northern Ireland Assembly. "Irish unity in our time".

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