New President for Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill after being elected the party’s vice president

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill after being elected the party’s vice president

Sinn Fein, which wants Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and become part of the Republic of Ireland, is the second-biggest party in the Belfast assembly and the third-biggest in the Dublin parliament.

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

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

Northern Ireland's two main parties reported on Friday that they had made progress in a last-ditch attempt to restore devolved government, with the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein saying talks would conclude one way or another next week.

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".

It had been confirmed last month she was the lone candidate in the race to succeed Adams who announced previous year he would be standing down. "To win elections, to increase our political strength, to realise our ambition of being in government, North and South".

His son Fiachra McGuinness said his father worked closely with McDonald and was a "huge admirer of her ideas, dedication and commitment".

She spoke about Sinn Fein's role in the peace process and the party's aim to be in government in both the North and the South.

She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, studying English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource management.

McDonald was previously a member of Fianna Fáil, another Irish republican party, although quit to join Sinn Fein in 1998.

Mrs McDonald has been a TD for Dublin Central since 2011.

She has previously said that she "completely understood and understand why people volunteered for the IRA".

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