Mary Lou McDonald TD will officially replace Gerry Adams at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis today.
The Dublin Central TD was named Sinn Féin president-elect at the Sinn Féin Cuige Uladh AGM in Belfast last month, being the sole nominee in the campaign for leadership of the party.
The party’s Northern Irish leader, Michelle O’Neill, will take the reigns from McDonald as vice-president of the party.
Donegal Sinn Féin members have supported Deputy McDonald’s appointment as the new leader, with Inishowen Senator Padraig MacLochlainn saying: “Her leadership ability and her warmth was there for everybody to see.”
Speaking at the Ard Fheis today, Donegal TD Pearse Doherty paid tribute to the late Martin McGuinness, and wished Adams well in his retirement from the party.
“Gerry Adams stands head and shoulders above any other contemporary Irish political leader… There would be no peace process but for the commitment and dedication of Gerry Adams.”
Doherty says that the “political landscape is changing” as Ireland’s young people “reject and cast off the failed attitudes and approaches of the past.”
“Some combination of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have ruled this state since Partition… Between them they built a conservative, narrow-minded state with an economy designed to serve the interests of a wealthy, privileged minority. Tá Éire ag athrú. Today’s Irish young people are more self-confident than any previous generation.”
“Today, Sinn Féin enters a new era.”
Doherty says that the party will now work towards uniting Ireland and Irish people “in peace and harmony.”
“Under the leadership of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill we will seek to build a genuine republic with equality and social justice at its very core,” he said.
Speaking from Stormont last night as his last day as Uachtarán Shinn Féin, Gerry Adams says that he believes “the future is bright.”
“I am confident that the new leadership of the party – Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill – will help make Sinn Féin even bigger and stronger in the time ahead,” he said.
Deputy Adams announced his intention to step down in November as part of Sinn Féin’s ten-year plan for the regeneration and renewal of the party. Leading the party for 35 years, he also indicated that a “necessary generational change” had to take place.
Deputy Adams has been the leader of Sinn Féin since 1983, and has previously served as an MP for west Belfast before turning his attention to Leinster House in 2012, where he currently holds a position as a TD for Louth.Tags: