Gerry Adams has stepped down as leader of Sinn Fein after more than 34 years in charge.
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.
It has a strong chance of entering a coalition government for the first time after the next election.
But many consider his past links to the IRA a millstone, although Adams denies ever being a member of the paramilitary organisation that fought for a unified Ireland.
"Now as a new generation takes the reins of leadership, our job is to bring innovative and modern ways of advancing our politics", she added.
Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Féin's leader in the North, was also confirmed as the party's new deputy leader - taking over from Deputy McDonald. The 69-year-old's 35-year-tenure partly spanned what is known as the Troubles; a period of discord and bloodshed relating to British rule in Northern Ireland. Progress has been made.
Adams leaves his role as president of Sinn Fein as Northern Ireland at a time of great political uncertainty, with the country not having its own devolved government following the resignation of Martin McGuinness in January 2017.
"I think for Ireland, north and south, even for European politicians, Mary Lou seems the more acceptable face of Sinn Fein".
But sources were optimistic the crisis was nearing solution over sticking points that included same-sex marriage, which is illegal in Northern Ireland, although permitted in the rest of the United Kingdom, and the rights of Irish-language speakers.
Adams has been accused of personally ordering the killings of some of those suspected of being informants.
His successor carries no such historical baggage.
Mr. Adams was hailed as a patriot, a statesman and a peacemaker during a party conference in Dublin which elected long-time deputy Mary Lou McDonald to replace him as president.
She is a formidable and aggressive debater, respected by opponents for her communication skills and her grip on policy details.
He also said he was dismayed it took so long to reach a ceasefire to the conflict in 1994.
"I don't think there was anyone else who could have kept the republican movement united during the peace process, and that is a pretty big legacy", Ferriter said.
He was elected to the British parliament as an MP for the constituency of West Belfast but never took his seat, as he refused to swear allegiance to the British head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.
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