Mary Lou McDonald to lead Sinn Féin into any snap election

Gerry Adams said he would not stay on as president for Christmas poll

Sinn Féin leader: Mary Lou McDonald will lead the party into a snap election this winter. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sinn Féin leader: Mary Lou McDonald will lead the party into a snap election this winter. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Sinn Féin’s vice-president, Mary Lou McDonald, will lead the party into the next general election. The party’s finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, said Gerry Adams had confirmed he would not stand in the next general election and the campaign would be led by the next most senior person in the party. Mr Doherty said this role did not make her automatic leader of Sinn Féin but was in line with party rules.

Speaking on Highland Radio, Mr Adams said he would not lead the party into the next election even if the Government were to collapse next week. “The party would be led by the leas uachtarán of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald. I of course would play my part, but as someone who isn’t a candidate then that limits my input,” he said.

No-confidence motion

Sinn Féin has tabled a motion of no confidence in Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald for next week. Fianna Fáil has also tabled a motion of no confidence. The motions follow Opposition claims that Ms Fitzgerald was aware of a campaign by the legal team of the former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to undermine the whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins commission, which was established to look into the sergeant’s claims of corruption and malpractice.

At the Sinn Féin ardfheis last Saturday Mr Adams said he would stand down as leader of the party in 2018 and would not be contesting his Louth seat in the next general election. He added that he would ask the ard comhairle of the party to hold an extraordinary ardfheis in 2018 to elect his replacement.

Ms McDonald is expected to be the only candidate, as two potential rivals, Pearse Doherty TD and Michelle O’Neill MLA, have ruled themselves out.