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Sinn Fein confirms Gerry Adams' successor to be chosen at February Ard Fheis

By Jonathan Bell

Gerry Adams' successor as Sinn Fein president will be chosen at a special party Ard Fheis in February, it has been confirmed.

Nominations for the post open in January. Deputy Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has been widely tipped to take the position after high profile figures such as Pearse Doherty and Michelle O'Neill ruled themselves out of the running.

On Saturday, following a special meeting of Sinn Fein's ruling executive, party chairman Declan Kearney set out the timetable for appointing the new president. He again reiterated the party was committed to restoring the Northern Ireland Executive.

“At our recent Ard Fheis Gerry Adams requested that the incoming Ard Comhairle meet to organise a special Ard Fheis in the new year to elect a new Uachtarán [president].

“The Ard Comhairle has met today and agreed that the special Ard Fheis will take place before the end of February with nominations opening in the New Year."

He added: “The election of a new party President comes at a time of great challenges and opportunities for the Irish people as a new political landscape begins to unfold in front of us.

“The events of the past week exposed for all to see the deep flaws which lie at the heart of the political marriage between Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin. It is likely there will be a General Election in 2018.

"Sinn Fein under our new leader will face into that election offering people a chance to elect a new government. A government committed to tackling the inequality which underpins the crisis in health and delivers the scandal of thousands of our children homeless this Christmas."

Gerry Adams announced he was to stand down as the party's president of three decades at last month's party conference. He also announced he was stepping back from front line politics and would not be seeking re-election to the Dail as TD for Louth.

Mr Kearney added: “Our new leader will lead the only all-Ireland political party, one which is uniquely placed to meet the challenges and resist Tory attempts deliver a hard Brexit and a hard border. We also remain committed to seeing a restoration of the Good Friday Agreement political institutions on the basis envisaged in that and subsequent Agreements.

"A committee chaired by the Ard Runaí, Dawn Doyle and myself as party chairperson has been established to organise the Ard Fheis and to oversee the election of the new Uachtarán.

“We look forward to another historic Ard Fheis and a healthy and democratic campaign to elect the next Uactarán Shinn Fein.”

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