Michelle O’Neill is Sinn Féin’s new leader north of the border

Posted By: January 23, 2017




Michelle O’Neill is Sinn Féin’s new leader north of the border


BBC NI. Janurary 23, 2017


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Michelle O’Neill said the new role was the ‘biggest honor’ of her life

Sinn Féin has announced that Michelle O’Neill is to replace Martin McGuinness as its leader north of the border.

She had been widely tipped as the politician who would take over from the former deputy first minister, who retired partly due to illness.

The 40-year-old County Tyrone woman is the current health minister having previously been agriculture minister.

She paid a warm tribute to Mr. McGuinness and said she was “following in the footsteps of a political giant”.

She said “no-one can replace Martin” but said she would continue the work he started.

Mrs. O’Neill will have just five weeks to prepare for an election after Stormont’s power-sharing coalition fell apart over a botched energy scheme scandal.

The fallout from the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal, which is approximately £490m over budget, led to Mr. McGuinness’ quitting after DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to stand aside as first minster while an investigation was carried out.

As they hold a joint office, his resignation automatically put Mrs. Foster out of her job and prompted the calling of snap elections on 2 March.