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Michelle O'Neill likely to take Sinn Féin deputy leader post

Sinn Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill, with Gerry Adams and deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald at the party's ard fheis at the RDS. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

WITH the elevation of Mary Lou McDonald to Sinn Féin president looking all but inevitable, attention is turning to who will take her place as deputy leader.

Should the Dublin Central TD take on Gerry Adams's mantle of leadership, it will see the return of the party's power base to the Republic after almost four decades of northern domination.

That makes it almost a foregone conclusion that, in order to maintain its identity as an all-Ireland party, Sinn Féin will look to the north for a vice president.

Political commentator Brian Feeney believes the party will take the opportunity to elevate a new generation without the overt ties to its violent past.

"What we saw at the weekend is a generational change in the party leadership," he said.

"The deputy leader will not be someone who was involved in the IRA campaign which ended 24 years ago."

He puts northern leader Michelle O'Neill as "most likely" candidate for vice president to Ms McDonald's president, "two women, one in the north and one in the south", with Pearse Doherty and Eoin Ó Broin mooted as likely candidates to fill the vacancy that will arise when Mr Adams is no longer party leader in the Dáil.

Meanwhile, Toiréasa Ferris has announced that she will seek to replace her father Martin, as a candidate in the next election.

She told RTÉ's Raidió na Gaeltachta members of her family had been unaware of the announcement made at the weekend that Martin Ferris, would not contest the next election for his seat in Kerry.

"I didn’t know myself that Gerry (Adams) was going to announce it publicly until 10 minutes before I went on stage (at the ard fheis)," she said.

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