Adams backs Mary Lou for SF leadership
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said that he would support Mary Lou McDonald's leadership of the party when he steps down.
Mr Adams was responding to weekend reports that the Provisional IRA's army council would not approve of Ms McDonald taking the reins of the party when he ends his more than three-decade reign of Sinn Féin.
The Louth TD said he would "of course" support Ms McDonald as Sinn Féin leader and said there was no reason why someone who did not live in Northern Ireland during the Troubles could not take over from him.
"The people who will make that decision, as it does every year, will be the Ard Fheis," he added.
Ms McDonald is a former member of Fianna Fáil and went to the prestigious fee-paying school Notre Dame Des Missions in south Dublin before she became an ardent republican.
Some have suggested that this makes her a less likely candidate for the role of Sinn Féin president than those in the party whose families are steeped in republicanism and spent time in prison during the Troubles.
Mr Adams laughed at suggestions that the Provisional IRA opposes Ms McDonald.
Asked if it was healthy for democracy for Mr Adams to continue leading Sinn Féin for more than 30 years, he replied: "That's a matter for the party."