Gerry Adams has officially stepped down as Sinn Féin leader

Gerry Adams has officially stepped down as Sinn Féin leader

A special Ard Fheis at the RDS in Ballsbridge is also due ratify Michelle O'Neill as Deputy Leader of Sinn Fein.

Ms McDonald, a TD for Dublin Central, was the sole contender for the job and she has been president-elect of the party since the beginning of this year.

Referencing the ongoing talks at Stormont, Ms. McDonald said she would keep faith with the late Mr. McGuinness' insistence that power-sharing could only be restored on the basis of respect and equality.

Mary Lou McDonald was born in Dublin on May 1, 1969 and is the new president of Sinn Fein.

About 3,500 people died in the Troubles between 1969 and 1998, with the republican side, dominated by the Provisional IRA, believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 of these deaths. Sinn Fein has shared power in Northern Ireland in spells since 2007.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said it was clear the negotiations were an "exclusive two-party process", adding: "The SDLP are not here to window-dress but we want to be constructive".

Founded in 1905, Sinn Fein is the third largest party in terms of the number of the seats it now holds both in the lower house and the upper house of the parliament in Ireland. "Nobody should be asked to forgive if they can not do so", she said. The 69-year-old Gerry Adams has served as the president of Sinn Fein since 1983. There is no value either in engaging in the blame game.

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The Sinn Fein leader, who will step down tomorrow after three-and-a-half decades at the forefront of Irish politics, said it was important not to inextricably link Brexit with Irish unification. And as we become more multicultural it is also about making space for all of those other folks out there who wouldn't be part of the orange and green tradition.

Her father, Brendan "Basil" Doris, was a former IRA prisoner who became a Sinn Fein councillor in Dungannon.

On Saturday, she said Sinn Fein will campaign actively in a planned referendum this spring on whether to repeal a section of the country's constitution, known as the Eight Amendment, which effectively bans abortion.

"We must only agree that the past is never again repeated", she said in a speech Saturday, as quoted by The Associated Press. That could be a tricky position given that Sinn Fein draws much of its support from Catholic communities.

The DUP, which is in a confidence and supply deal with the Tory government in Westminster, has warned that it could walk away from any agreement if Northern Ireland remains part of the single market or customs union.

The idea of Irish unity has become more prevalent since Britain chose to leave the European Union, Gerry Adams has said.