’One of the most formidable women in politics’: Changing of the guard at Sinn Féin

After 34 years, the changing of the guard has come - with Mary Lou McDonald set to take over the role of Sinn Féin leader. The Dublin woman has been clear favourite for some time to replace Gerry Adams, one of the longest serving party leaders in the world.

She was once described by her party colleague Caral Ni Chuilin as "one of the most formidable women in politics".

Born in 1969, Ms McDonald’s background is very different from other leading Sinn Féin politicians.

She was raised in the affluent Rathgar area of Dublin and was educated at Notre Dame, a private fee-paying school in the city. She is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Limerick and DCU.

Her first formal link to politics was as a consultant and researcher with the Institute of European Affairs, a think tank run by Brendan Halligan, the former Labour TD.

In the late 1990s, she joined Fianna Fáil in Dublin West, defecting to Sinn Féin shortly afterwards.

In 2002, Ms McDonald was Sinn Féin’s candidate in Dublin West, but she failed to win a seat in the Dáil.

But two years later, she made history by becoming the party’s first MEP.

By 2009, she was deputy leader of the party - and in 2011 became a member of the Dáil for Dublin Central.

She is now set to become the party’s first ever female leader.

- PA


Sinn Fein

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