Mary Lou McDonald Takes Over As New Leader Of Ireland's Sinn Fein

Mary Lou McDonald Takes Over As New Leader Of Ireland's Sinn Fein

SINN FÉIN'S NEW deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has said that talks on forming a Stormont Assembly will conclude next week.

McDonald, who was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009 when she became Adams' number two, wants to build on the progress made over the past two decades since the Northern Irish troubles ended.

"Ireland will not be the collateral damage in the political games and antics of Tories in London", she said, referring to the Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Theresa May.

He has been replaced by Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald at a special party conference in the RDS in Dublin this afternoon.

As leader of Sinn Fein from 1983, Adams, 69, had been the political voice of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which is blamed for more than 1,700 deaths during what is known as "The Troubles" from 1969-1997.

'Our focus must be on building Sinn Fein into an organisation that is fit for goal, and our objective is to win, to win elections, to increase our political strength, to realise our ambition of being in government north and south, to win progressive political victories every single day.

One thing that has not changed, McDonald said, is a core principle of the party: a united Ireland.

"Sinn Fein in government, both North and South".

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She has previously said that she "completely understood and understand why people volunteered for the IRA". But she also focused on Sinn Fein's founding principle: a united Ireland.

McDonald takes over Sinn Fein following a series of resignations and suspensions that have posed questions about the party's professionalism. "On other things, we can agree to disagree".

Today marks the high point of Ms Lou McDonald's political career. She's been involved in negotiations to re-establish the Northern Ireland government and there are indications a deal could be struck next week.

Her father, Brendan "Basil" Doris, was a former IRA prisoner who became a Sinn Fein councillor in Dungannon.

Ms. McDonald said the Derry man who died after a short illness last March as a true "peacemaker" and promised to follow his example of reaching out to unionist citizens in a spirit of reconciliation.

Ms McDonald also spoke about the upcoming referendum to repeal the eight amendment and said her party will be campaigning for a yes vote. That could be a tricky position given that Sinn Fein draws much of its support from Catholic communities.

He said: "The effect of Brexit is that people have just been reminded that for the last 20 years we have just practically had a single island economy, the border has ceased to be the intrusive, in your face, structure".

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