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McDonald to take helm, calls for united Ireland

Mary Lou McDonald will become the new president of Sinn Féin on February 10. RollingNews.ie photo

 

By Anthony Neeson

Sinn Féin’s president-elect has said that a united Ireland is the “best outcome for all our citizens.”

Mary Lou McDonald was speaking in Belfast after she was named as Sinn Féin’s president-elect, taking over from Gerry Adams who has been party leader for over 34 years.

“I am proud and honored to be nominated for Uachtarán Shinn Féin,” she told party members at the Balmoral Hotel.

“I look forward to being ratified at our special Ard Fheis on February tenth.

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The party’s northern leader, Michelle O’Neill, is expected to take over as vice-president of Sinn Féin, a post that is currently held by Ms. McDonald.

The Dublin Central TD continued: “I know I have big shoes to fill taking on the role from Gerry Adams and I know that is impossible but I have brought my own shoes and together, with all of the party membership, we will walk on a journey that will lead to Irish unity.

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

“We are entering a new era and we can look forward with confidence. I want to see Sinn Féin in government north and south.

“But it will be a government based on equality, government that respects the rights of citizens, that delivers prosperity and opportunity for all and reflects our republican ideals.”

Looking ahead to the restart of all-party talks between the northern parties - which was announced by the British governmebnt’s new North Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, Gerry Adams said: “politics in this state are very polarized at this time and the atmosphere is very toxic.

“There will always be political tension between unionism and republicanism. That is natural. But this can and should be managed in a responsible, respectful way.

“It is not in the interests of the vast majority of citizens that political parties should retreat to our trenches and hunker down comfortable in the certainty of our respective positions.

“We have to challenge ourselves and our support base. We also have to challenge unionism.”