Gerry Adams has officially stepped down as Sinn Féin leader

Gerry Adams has officially stepped down as Sinn Féin leader

Gerry Adams has officially stepped down as Sinn Féin leader

Outgoing party president Gerry Adams, who steps down today, said: "It isn't sorted out as we speak".

Adams, who announced in November he was stepping down after nearly 35 years, was the key figure in the peace process that saw the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the formation of a power-sharing government between Northern Ireland's pro-British and republican factions.

"We want to see a referendum on Irish unity as part of the Good Friday Agreement".

She added: "We will continue to meet with the DUP and both governments and will re-engage on Monday and I anticipate that talks will conclude next week".

She takes over for Adams, a divisive politician who was the face of the Irish republican movement as it shifted from violence to peace.

Ms O'Neill said: "As in any negotiation, there has been give and take and at this point we have not yet resolved or overcome all our differences to satisfaction".

McDonald was the sole candidate for the position, while Michelle O'Neill has formally been elected as Vice President of the party at the Ard Fheis.

One thing that has not changed, McDonald said, is a core principle of the party: a united Ireland. Sinn Fein has shared power in Northern Ireland in spells since 2007. "That's an very bad long time and a lot of people were killed or injured and traumatised in between".

MsMcDonald, a TD for Dublin Central, was first elected to the Dail in 2011 and was an MEP for Dublin from 2004-2009.

The transition comes as Northern Ireland's political landscape remains deadlocked.

"Sinn Fein in government, both North and South".

The two parties, representing mainly Roman Catholic proponents of uniting with the rest of Ireland and mostly Protestant supporters of continued rule by Britain, have failed to meet a number of several deadlines to reach agreement since then.

"Our negotiating team has made progress but there are still a lot of gaps and more work to be done".

He said he had simply tried to do his best during his decades at the helm.

Many in the province fear that direct rule would further destabilise the balance between Sinn Fein and the DUP who, until previous year, had run the province since 2007.

Speaking in the RDS in Dublin today, Ms McDonald said that there would have been "no peace process" without Adams, who she described as her "political mentor".

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