MEP — Next SF leader could be from south

Valerie Robinson
Irish News

Sinn Féin's next president could be from the Republic as its support
base continues to grow across the south, the party's new Dublin MEP
has predicted.

Mary Lou McDonald, the Dublin-based politician who is due to join
Bairbre de Brun at the European Parliament next month, told the Irish
News that a successor to Gerry Adams could be found in the Republic.

Mr Adams (56), who featured prominently in the party's recent
European election campaign on both sides of the border, has acted as
party president since 1983, making him one of the longest-serving
party leaders in Irish history.

In an interview in today's Irish News, Ms McDonald said that she
could "see no reason" why the party should not be led by someone from
the south in the future.

"Gerry Adams is a fantastic party president. Sinn Féin is the kind of
party that is making room for younger people, who bring in new issues
and perspectives," she said.

Ms McDonald added that it "might make more sense" at some point in
the future for the all-island party to be led by a representative
from the south.

She also indicated that Sinn Féin could lead a left-wing coalition
into government in Leinster House, if support for the party continued
to swell.

She said the party would first concentrate on the mandate given to it
by voters to push forward the peace process but added that it would
be "looking to build a broad progressive coalition".

"Obviously we would want to work with others on the left," she said,
suggesting that Labour could make a viable candidate for coalition at
some point," she said.

"All things are possible, but it will eventually depend on the
ability of the respective parties to offer a coherent alternative to
what's there at the moment," she added.

"People are saying that it's time for change and Sinn Féin would put
equality and the national question at the centre of any coalition."

June 29, 2004

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