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McDonald to succeed Adams as Sinn Fein leader

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Mary Lou McDonald

The Ennis branch of Sinn Féin has endorsed Mary Lou McDonald to be the next leader of the party.

The change represents a major shift for Sinn Fein, so closely associated with Adams' leadership, which started in November 1983.

She will become Gerry Adams' replacement after her's was the only name proposed before the deadline last evening.

She added that Sinn Fein is "probably the most exemplary party when it comes to girl power at this stage in Irish politics" - a reference to the fact that the party in Northern Ireland is also led by a woman, Michelle O'Neill.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams laughs as Mary Lou Mc Donald watches after a pre-election news conference in Dublin Ireland
Image Mrs Mc Donald and Mr Adams

She will take over from Gerry Adams.

Speaking at the meeting Ms McDonald said she believes her leadership will mark a defining chapter in the achievement of a united Ireland.

"The truth is my freinds, I don't fill Gerry's shoes", she said, adding: " but I've brought my own and together we will walk a journey that will lead to a United Ireland".

The Dublin TD, 48, told Sinn Fein's Ard Chomhairle this morningshe that she felt an "enormous sense of pride" at receiving the nomination to be president elect.

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"Uniting this island is the best outcome for all our citizens and it is now our task to convince our unionist friends and neighbours of that and to encourage them to help us build a new Ireland".

Before being elected to the Dail (Parliament) she made history by becoming Sinn Fein's first MEP in Ireland in 2004. We also have to challenge unionism.

Mrs McDonald called on supporters at Sinn Fein's AGM to "build our new Ireland", and a special party conference to ratify a new leader will be held on 10 February.

I am proud and honoured to be nominated for Uachtarán Shinn Féin.

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Mr Adams had earlier said that a united Ireland was not a pipe dream, adding: It is very achievable - we can do it.

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