McDonald expected to be unopposed for post of Sinn Féin leader

Special Sinn Féin ardfheis will take place in the RDS on Saturday, February 10th

It would be a major surprise if any nomination other than Mary Lou McDonald’s is put before the Sinn Féin special ardfheis next month to succeed Gerry Adams as party leader, party sources say.

The party’s national chairman, Declan Kearney, on Monday announced that the special ardfheis would take place on Saturday, February 10th, in the RDS in Dublin. He also announced that the period for nominations opened on Monday and will close on January 19th.

Ms McDonald has been the de facto political leader of the party in the Republic over recent months, and is expected to be unopposed for the position of party president.

The two others who would be considered as leading contenders, Northern leader Michele O’Neill and finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, have both said they will not be seeking nominations for the position.


Party representatives who spoke to The Irish Times on Monday said it was difficult to see any other credible candidate emerging.

The special ardfheis was originally pencilled for later in the year, but was brought forward to ensure the party is not caught out by a snap election, as almost happened in the run-up to the Christmas break.

On Monday Mr Kearney said regional debates would be organised for candidates. “As we move closer to a general election in the South a step change is needed. The complete failure of the Irish Government to deal with the crises in health and housing is intolerable.

“Sinn Féin with a new leader will face into the next general election offering the electorate an opportunity to elect a new government committed to tackling these crises properly.”

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times