Mary Lou: I'd like to be leader if it arose
SINN Fein is positioning Mary Lou McDonald as the party's future leader amid growing unrest over Gerry Adams's IRA connections.
In her strongest remarks yet about her political ambitions, Ms McDonald confirms her desire to lead Sinn Fein.
"If at some stage there was a vacancy, I would certainly consider it," she said.
Her hopes of succeeding Gerry Adams have been boosted after the party's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty ruled himself out of any leadership contest. The spotlight on the Sinn Fein leadership is set to intensify this week with a TV3 documentary tonight about the party's IRA associations.
Adams defends the IRA's campaign of terror – despite denying he was ever a member of the criminal organisation.
"I'm very, very clear about my denial of IRA membership but I don't disassociate myself from the IRA," he told the station's political editor Ursula Halligan.
Asked whether he believes the IRA's 'campaign of violence' was justified, Mr Adams replied: "I believe so. I don't believe all of its actions were justified."
The programme features interviews with a number of former IRA members and cabinet ministers, north and south.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter is scathing of what he calls the IRA's "war crimes", while Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said IRA violence in the North had led to "probably the permanent partition of this country". Donegal South West TD Mr Doherty said: "For me personally, to take on more responsibility would tip the balance completely in the wrong direction."
The two-part documentary, 'Sinn Fein: Who are they?', shows Ms McDonald talking about her political future while shopping in Superquinn.
Asked how a "girl from Rathgar" ended up in the party, she responds: "I was looking for something real, somewhere you could make a difference and Sinn Fein provided that space."
'Sinn Fein: Who Are They?' airs tonight on TV3 at 10pm.