Michelle O'Neill declares herself for Sinn Féin vice president

Michelle O'Neill

SINN Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill last night declared herself for the position of party vice-president following Mary Lou McDonald's elevation to leader at the weekend.

In what was seen as an inevitable move, Ms O'Neill announced she was seeking the support of party members for the position of Leas Uachtarán/Vice President.

Ms O'Neill who posted a video on social media to declare herself and described Ms McDonald as someone who is "going to be a formidable political leader".

""Mary Lou McDonald is our new president-elect...I want to join her in her leadership," she said on Twitter.

"I am going forward for the position...and I am going to ask the membership across the island for their support in order to do so."

With Mrs McDonald succeeding Gerry Adams after almost 35 years at the helm, it will see the return of the party's power base to the Republic after almost four decades of northern domination.

In order to maintain its identity as an all-Ireland party, Ms O'Neill is widely tipped to become the deputy leader.

Nominations will begin today to select a new Vice President.

Mrs McDonald was named as leader-elect at a meeting of Sinn Fein's ard comhairle (high council) in Belfast on Saturday.

The party's national chairman Declan Kearney said the nomination process for deputy leader will close on Monday January 29.

The new leader and deputy leader will be officially elected at a special Sinn Fein Ard Fheis on February 10.

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