McDonald to succeed Adams as Sinn Fein leader

Gerry Adams has been Sinn Féin leader since 1983

Mary Lou McDonald, 48, was confirmed as the new head of the party, following Gerry Adams' announcement in November that he would step down after 34 years in the role.

"That is not a pipe dream, that is not empty rhetoric, that is the road we are on".

As the only person to be nominated for the position, McDonald will be formally ratified as the new leader in three week's time at a special Ard Fheis in Dublin's RDS on 10 February.

Meanwhile, Mr Adams has said that Sinn Fein wants to see an end to the year-long political stalemate at Stormont.

"We need a party that thinks and acts strategically...that builds alliances with other of like mind".

McDonald, who has been a Teachta Dala (TD) since 2011 now for Dublin Central, was the only person to put her name forward for the role before nominations closed on Friday. "It's very achievable. We can do it", he added.

Gerry Adams has been the president of the party since 1983 but in 2017, announced he would be resigning from his post.

Several party members took to Twitter to express their support for Ms McDonald.

McDonald presents a fresh face for the party and has no historic links to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the now-defunct paramilitary wing of Sinn Fein responsible for more than 1 700 deaths during the conflict known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Several rounds of talks aimed at ending the political stalemate ended without agreement. Mr Adams said his deputy would enter the fray at a "very polarised and very toxic" time in Irish politics but said that there was "no merit" in disengaging from talks with unionists. "We also need to win that referendum. don't believe the naysayers and begrudgers who claim that a United Ireland is a pipe dream".

"Standing still is not an option".

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