Northern Ireland

Michelle O'Neill set to become Sinn Féin vice-president

Michelle O'Neill, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sinn Féin said it is going through a "process of renewal" as Gerry Adams is replaced as leader

Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill is the only candidate to be nominated for the party's soon-to-be-vacant position of vice-president.

She is set to replace Mary Lou McDonald, who is due to take over from Gerry Adams as party president.

Mrs O'Neill said she was honoured to have been put forward for the role as the party enters "a new political era".

A special party conference to elect the two women to the leadership roles will be held on 10 February.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Michelle O'Neill are due to be confirmed in their leadership roles this month

Mrs O'Neill replaced Martin McGuinness as Sinn Féin's Stormont leader last year, shortly before the death of the former Northern Ireland deputy first minister.

She said she was looking forward to working with the party's new leader Ms McDonald.

"Sinn Féin will continue to be on the frontline leading positive change to improve the daily lives of ordinary people across Ireland," said Mrs O'Neill.

"Our priority is to continue the growth and development of Sinn Féin as a national political movement for Irish unity and an agreed Ireland."

The party's chairperson Declan Kearney said the change in leadership was part of Sinn Féin's "process of renewal and regeneration".

"The formidable team of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill will lead the party in delivering real change in the lives of citizens north and south," he said.

He added that the "strength and standing" of Mrs O'Neill and Ms McDonald was reflected in "the fact that they were the obvious and uncontested choice of the Sinn Féin membership".

Ms McDonald will replace Mr Adams as Sinn Féin's leader after he announced his intention to stand down after 34 years.

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