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
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.