New SF leader prom­ises change on his­toric day

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - By FERGHAL BLANEY Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter

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

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