Belfast Telegraph

Pearse Doherty rules himself out of standing for Sinn Fein leadership

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty has ruled himself out of the running to take over from Gerry Adams when he steps down next year.

Mr Doherty, the party's finance spokesman, said on Monday that he does not want to lead the party at the present time.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland that he had a young family and that it was not the right move at this time.

Mr Doherty said he was confident that there were a number of young republicans who would be capable of stepping into Mr Adams' shoes.

On Sunday the party's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill also ruled herself out of the running.

She said she wanted to concentrate instead on dealing with the issues in the North, where the powersharing government has collapsed.

This leaves the way clear for deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald who remains the clear favourite to take over the role as Sinn Fein leader.

Mr Adams on Saturday told a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis that he would step down as party president next year and would not contest the next general election in Ireland.

He told the Ard Fheis that a special meeting of the party would be called next year to elect a successor.

The 70-year-old TD for Co Louth, who has been party president since 1983, told delegates: "Leadership means knowing when it is time for change and that time is now."

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