Wednesday 19 September 2018

Playing to the hardliners is perilous path for Mary Lou

The new Sinn Fein leader should have kept her own counsel and let Gerry Adams escape from messes of his own making, writes Mairia Cahill

Sinn Fein’s newly elected president Mary Lou McDonald (left) and vice president Michelle O’Neill are hugged by Francie Molloy MP at the party’s special conference at the RDS. Photo: PA Wire
Sinn Fein’s newly elected president Mary Lou McDonald (left) and vice president Michelle O’Neill are hugged by Francie Molloy MP at the party’s special conference at the RDS. Photo: PA Wire

Mairia Cahill

In 2014, I wrote for this paper that Mary Lou McDonald needed to gain the trust of the IRA Belfast Brigade in order to reach the top of Sinn Fein, and that she "needed to go from being her own woman, to being theirs".

And so, it has come to pass.

Her steadfastness at defending her party leader over various controversies, coupled with her capability and acerbic forensic questioning of opposition parties, has won over Northern hardliners to allow her to run unopposed for a position which until yesterday was in the lap of Gerry Adams for decades.

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