May 21, 2018

After 34 years, a change at the top for Sinn Fein

11 February 2018, 05:07 | Ken Black

Alberta Quinton

Alberta Quinton

McDonald told the crowd that she believes the party is ready for Government in both the North and the South, and told delegates that she expects the talks about restoring the power sharing institutions to conclude next week.

He has been replaced by Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald at a special party conference in the RDS in Dublin this afternoon.

He was speaking from Stormont in Northern Ireland on Friday, his last evening as party leader.

Sinn Féin is among the top political parties in Ireland as well as Northern Ireland.

Unlike Mr. Adams, who was born into a working class family in Belfast steeped with IRA members, Ms. McDonald was raised in a wealthy part of Dublin and she has no connection to the IRA.

Founded in 1905, Sinn Fein is the third largest party in terms of the number of the seats it now holds both in the lower house and the upper house of the parliament in Ireland.

"Now as a new generation takes the reins of leadership, our job is to bring innovative and modern ways of advancing our politics", she added.

"There are many challenges facing the people of this island. Nobody should be asked to forgive if they can not do so", she said. We must only agree that the past is never again repeated.

Although Sinn Fein has in recent years used a strong roster of candidates to build electoral support in the Republic of Ireland, some southern voters who would otherwise be attracted to its broadly center-left policies are still troubled by its previous support for IRA violence under Adams's presidency.

McDonald takes over Sinn Fein following a series of resignations and suspensions that have posed questions about the party's professionalism.

Today marks the high point of Ms Lou McDonald's political career.

She also maintained Sinn Féin's opposition to border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as part of a Brexit deal.

She said: "Soon we face into a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment".

He said despite Brexit's many problems, the divorce could inadvertently lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom by boosting Irish unity.

Victims of the mainly Roman Catholic IRA included British soldiers, Northern Ireland police officers and Loyalist terrorist opponents, but also many civilian members of the mainly pro-British Protestant majority in Northern Ireland and numerous Catholic civilians who opposed the IRA or were accused of being informers or collaborators.

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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