‘I am following in the footsteps of a political giant’

Michelle O'Neill with Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams and other elected Sinn Fein representatives at Stormont.
Michelle O'Neill with Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams and other elected Sinn Fein representatives at Stormont.
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Sinn Féin MLA and newly announced party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill has said she is honoured to follow in the footsteps of “political giant” Martin McGuinness.

Ms O’Neill was speaking on Monday as she was officially confirmed as the representative chosen to take over the mantle from Mr McGuinness following his retirement from front line politics last week.

Speaking in Stormont today, Ms O’Neill said; “For me to be selected to lead our party in the north is truly the biggest honour and privilege of my life.

“I have no doubt that I am following in the footsteps of a political giant in Martin McGuinness. And it’s not just republicans that think that, as we have witnessed over the course of the last few weeks.

“Over the course of the last number of weeks, while others shouted from the sidelines it was Sinn Féin that stood up and confronted corruption. It was Sinn Féin that called a halt to the arrogance and the intolerance of the DUP.

“Arrogance and disrespect has no place in society. Financial scandal, incompetence or waste of public money cannot be tolerated.”

And the new Sinn Fein leader vowed:

“In the aftermath of the election, there can and will be no return to the status quo.

“Sinn Féin are only interested in participating in the power sharing institutions if they deliver for all of our citizens and operate on the basis of equality and respect.”