New SF leader promises change on historic day
MARY Lou Mcdonald has taken over as Sinn Fein leader with the pledge of creating a more modern version of the party.
More than 2,000 delegates filled the main hall of the RDS yesterday to witness the end of Gerry Adams’ 34 years in charge.
In her maiden speech as leader, Ms Mcdonald spoke of her aim of being in government both North and South.
She said: “We are a rainbow of colours – so the party we build must be reflective of the society we live in.
“This will mean changes in how we operate.
“We must be open, flexible and enthusiastic in creating space for newer members and for the sharing of new ideas. We must be ambitious. Remember this – we have come together to make history, to change the course of Irish history.
“We share a common bond of our republican ideals.
“Respect, equality and inclusion are the watchwords of our party.
“So our focus must be on building Sinn Fein into an organisation that is fit for purpose – and our purpose is to win.
“To win elections, to increase our political strength, to realise our ambition of being in government, North and South. To win progressive political victories every single day – and ultimately to win Irish unity.” The 48-year-old added areas she will immediately turn her attention to include Brexit, climate change, repealing the Eighth Amendment and resolving the crisis in the North.
Mr Adams received a huge send-off with wellwishers thronging around him all day.
Michelle O’neill, who was elected vice-president, paid tribute to her predecessor as Northern leader, the late Martin Mcguinness, who died last March.
The party we build must be reflective of the society we live in MARY LOU MCDONALD DUBLIN YESTERDAY