'That will depend on the timing of the election' - Mary Lou McDonald refuses to rule out Sinn Fein leadership change
SINN Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the issue of Gerry Adams leading Sinn Fein into another General Election will depend on its timing.
The Dublin Central TD was responding to rumours that the party president was planning to announce he is standing down as leader at the party's Ard Fheis next month.
Speaking to Chris Donoghue on Newstalk Breakfast, she said she had not heard anything to make her believe the rumour was true.
"That particularly rumour around Gerry has featured periodically in the media from time to time. The reality is Gerry is the leader, I will be nominating him for Taoiseach", she said.
However when asked if he would lead Sinn Fein into the next election, she could not rule out the possibility he may have stood down by then.
"That will depend on Gerry, that will depend on the will of the party, and crucially that will depend on the timing of the election", she said.
She added that Mr Adams currently has the full support of his party.
"He is the leader of Sinn Fein, he has our unequivocal support.
"He certainly hasn't indicated as far as I know any intentions in so far as the upcoming Ard Fheis."
Ms McDonald also said that she would be supporting Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin for Ceann Comhairle - but that she would be transferring to Independent Maureen O'Sullivan.
She acknowledged the decision could affect her personally, as Maureen O'Sullivan is a TD from her constituency - meaning she would be forced to defend her seat in a two seat constituency at the next election if Ms O'Sullivan was elected.
"That would create obviously a huge challenge for me politically and personally. Of course it would make matters very tricky.
"I would have a preference for the role falling to an independent rather than Fianna Fail or Fine Gael."
As for the election for Taoiseach, she said there will not be one selected today - but that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael must come to an arrangement.
"I think there certainly won't be a Taoiseach elected today, that much is inevitable.
"The reality of the numbers of this Dail is that the viable option for long-term government numerically is Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. That's not the outcome I wished to see, but the people have voted.
"Either Fianna Fail and Fine Gael get over themselves and come to some arrangement, because that's where the numbers lie. Either that happens, or it seems to me that we're back to the electorate."