Sinn Féin President announces leadership changes to go before next months Ard Fhéis
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Pat Doherty who is standing down as Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán at the party's Ard Fheis in February.
In an interview with An Phoblacht Gerry Adams said the big challenge for Sinn Féin this year and in the next decade is to be nation builders and to encourage a national conversation about the type of society that best suits the Irish people, both here at home and throughout the Diaspora.
He also said that over the last 18 months Sinn Féin has been engaged in a major re-organisation of the party across the island and as part of this a number of significant changes to the party leadership and structure are expected at this year's Ard Fhéis.
Mr. Adams said: 'Pat Doherty has decided not to put his name forward for the Vice Presidents position. Pat has served Sinn Féin in this office for over twenty years. He has been a consistent part of our leadership in good times and bad since the 1970s. I have no doubt he will continue to play a leadership role, in particular on our United Ireland Taskforce. I thank him for his hard work on the National Officer Board over the last two decades. I wish him and Mary Doc' well.
"Over the last 18 months we have been engaged in a major re-organisation of the party across the island. For some time and for very obvious reasons Sinn Fein's main political strength has been in the North and the border counties. For the last number of years there has been a consistent, ongoing project to make Sinn Féin fit for purpose everywhere on the island and to make republicanism relevant to people in their daily lives; in my view, this has seen considerable progress. However this is a long-term project. Sinn Féin as a party is in transition. A number of significant changes to the party structure and leadership are expected at this year's Ard Fhéis.
"Mary Lou McDonald will be running for Vice President, Declan Kearney for party Chairperson, Dawn Doyle for Ard Runai and Maurice Quinlivan and Rita O'Hare as joint party Treasurers. Rita will continue in her role as the party's US representative. I will be running for party President, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin will continue in his position as Dáil Group leader and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.
"The Taskforce on Irish Unity was established to drive forward the United Ireland agenda. There is now a peaceful and democratic path to a United Ireland and republicans have a strategy in place to bring this about. It is the job of the taskforce to carry forward this work. Given its importance, the work of the taskforce and the implementation of its roadmap need to be headed up by senior party figures. Pat Doherty and Rita O'Hare will play a leading role in this work. Rita will also continue as Sinn Fein party representative in Washington."
Our outgoing party Treasurers - Margaret Kelly and Treasa Quinn - are taking up senior positions in the Finance Department. I wish them well in the demanding work that lies ahead and commend them for their outstanding contributions as Treasurers."