Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Sinn Fein's long-time leader Gerry Adams steps down

Sinn Fein's long-time leader Gerry Adams steps down

In her first speech as president, Ms McDonald is expected to set out an ambitious agenda to modernise the party, getting it into government in the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, to bring about the goal of a united Ireland.

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Féin's leader in the North, was also confirmed as the party's new deputy leader - taking over from Deputy McDonald.

'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.

He was questioned in 2014 about the disappearance of Jean McConville, 38, a widowed mother of 10 who was abducted by IRA gunmen in 1972 and found buried on a beach in 2003.

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

More talks will take place today (9 February) between all sides of the debate in both Northern Ireland and Britain.

"I think for Ireland, north and south, even for European politicians, Mary Lou seems the more acceptable face of Sinn Fein".

In her speech made to a packed room of party members, O'Neill said there has to be "give and take" in the Stormont negotiations.

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She has previously said that she "completely understood and understand why people volunteered for the IRA". The 69-year-old Gerry Adams has served as the president of Sinn Fein since 1983. There is no value in engaging in the blame game.

The Sinn Fein leader, who will step down tomorrow after three-and-a-half decades at the forefront of Irish politics, said it was important not to inextricably link Brexit with Irish unification. "We do not have to agree on the past, We must only agree that the past is never again repeated".

Today marks the high point of Ms Lou McDonald's political career. She said that the talks regarding this are ongoing and Sinn Fein is committed to a positive income.

Ms McDonald also spoke about the upcoming referendum to repeal the eight amendment and said her party will be campaigning for a yes vote.

McDonald added: 'Now is the time for fresh thinking and bold ideas to take us forward, ' she said. That could be a tricky position given that Sinn Fein draws much of its support from Catholic communities. "Some people say 'what's your legacy?' - I won't be around".

The DUP, which is in a confidence and supply deal with the Tory government in Westminster, has warned that it could walk away from any agreement if Northern Ireland remains part of the single market or customs union.

"There is now a peaceful and democratic path to Irish unity".

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