Adams steps down as Sinn Fein leader after 34 years

Adams steps down as Sinn Fein leader after 34 years

Adams steps down as Sinn Fein leader after 34 years

Mary Lou McDonald took over as leader of the Sinn Fein party Saturday, ending Gerry Adams' three decades at the helm with a sweeping speech that touched on everything from abortion to Brexit and promised a united Ireland "in our time".

Mary Lou McDonald has been formally elected as the new president of the party.


After leaving university, the politician ran for the leadership unopposed and had served as deputy leader since February 2008.

McDonald, the leftwing party's deputy leader, was confirmed last month as successor to Adams, 69, who has dominated the group since November 1983.

The election of a woman from a younger generation, who had no direct involvement in the 30-year Northern Irish conflict, represents a considerable break with the past for the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

While it trails the centre-right Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties by some distance in opinion polls, recent surveys suggest some voters would be more willing to vote for a party led by Ms McDonald than by Mr Adams. The poet Maya Angelou put it well: 'History, despite its wrenching pain, can not be unlived.

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In a statement last night, Mr Adams said he believes that a way forward can be found to restore the power sharing executive at Stormont.

As he says himself, opinion is deeply divided on his role over the past half century, with some people detesting him and others admiring what he has achieved.

"Sinn Fein in government, both North and South". But its association with the Troubles has prevented it from gaining more popularity among voters, reports the AP.

Speaking in the RDS in Dublin today, Ms McDonald said that there would have been "no peace process" without Adams, who she described as her "political mentor".

"Ireland will not be the collateral damage in the political games and antics of Tories in London", she said, referring to the Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Britain's upcoming departure from the European Union, or Brexit, she said Sinn Fein will not accept any deal that reinstates border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic. While the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the Republic of Ireland remains part of the E.U. and the question of what to do with its border to the north has been a sticking point in negotiations, as it has sparked fears of reawakening old tensions.

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