tiptrot.com May 22, 2018

Mary Lou McDonald nominated as next leader of Sinn Féin

22 January 2018, 01:35 | Susie Olson

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

NOMINATIONS to become the next leader of Sinn Féin closed last night, with Mary Lou McDonald believed to be the only candidate.

Deputy McDonald's nomination is expected to be ratified at a special Ard Fheis next month.

McDonald continued; "The truth is, many friends have correctly said to me that I have big shoes to fill, but the truth is no one will ever fill Gerry Adams' shoes".

The change comes at a politically turbulent time, but according to many observers, it could also bring new opportunities for the party.

The 48-year-old politician was confirmed as the sole nominee to be the party's president following Gerry Adams' announcement in November that he would step down after 34 years in the role. The 69-year-old is a key figure in the Irish republican movement, which seeks to take Northern Ireland out of the U.K. and unite it with the Republic of Ireland.

Earlier, Gerry Adams said that the current political atmosphere in Northern Ireland was "toxic".

The Louth TD has been a pivotal figure in the political life of Ireland for nearly 50 years and has been at the helm of Sinn Fein for more than three decades.

She became Sinn Fein's first MEP in the Republic of Ireland in 2004 and Blevins said she had "lots of political experience and is well known for voicing her views, rather strongly on occasion".

Mr Adams added: "Separate development and negative divisions are not good for our community".

A fourth attempt to end the impasse is due to begin on Wednesday.

"We have to challenge ourselves and our support base".

He also said: "Whether the upcoming talks succeed or not in the short term, there is no merit in Sinn Féin disengaging from the conversations and dialogue with unionists and others that are necessary".

"Standing still is not an option".

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