Mary Lou McDonald

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Mary Lou McDonald
TD
Mary Lou McDonald (official portrait).jpg
Leader of Sinn Féin
Assumed office
10 February 2018
Deputy Michelle O'Neill
Preceded by Gerry Adams
Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin
In office
22 February 2009 – 10 February 2018
Leader Gerry Adams
Preceded by Pat Doherty
Succeeded by Michelle O'Neill
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
Constituency Dublin Central
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 2004 – 20 June 2009
Constituency Dublin
Personal details
Born Mary Louise McDonald
(1969-05-01) 1 May 1969 (age 49)
Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin (since 1998)
Other political
affiliations
Fianna Fáil (Before 1998)
Spouse(s)
Martin Lanigan (m. 1996)
Children 2
Alma mater
Website Official website

Mary Louise McDonald (born 1 May 1969) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician serving as Leader of Sinn Féin since February 2018 and Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin Central since the 2011 general election. She previously served as Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin from 2009 to 2018 and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Dublin from 2004 to 2009.[1]

On 10 February 2018, McDonald succeeded longtime party leader Gerry Adams after a special ardfheis (party conference) in Dublin.[2]

Background[edit]

Born in Dublin, McDonald was educated at Notre Dame Des Missions in Churchtown,[3] Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, studying English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource Management.[4] Her career to date has her involved in diverse roles, watching, including consultant for the Irish Productivity Centre, researcher for the Institute of European Affairs, and trainer in the Partnership Unit of the Educational and Training Services Trust.[4]

While she attended some Fianna Fáil meetings, she did not join the party, instead joining the Irish National Congress, a cross-party republican organisation.[5] She later became chairperson in 2000, leading a protest in Dublin against the involvement of the city's Lord Mayor in the unveiling of a plaque at where the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland held its first meeting in 1798.[6]

Dáil Éireann[edit]

McDonald first ran for office when she unsuccessfully contested the Dublin West constituency for Sinn Féin at the 2002 general election, polling 8.02% of first preference votes. She was an unsuccessful candidate in the Dublin Central constituency at the 2007 general election.

She contested Dublin Central again in the 2011 general election, this time picking up 13.1% of first preference votes; she was successful in taking the last seat in the constituency. She was re-elected in the 2016 general election topping the poll and taking the first seat in the Dublin Central constituency. She is a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

In November 2014, McDonald refused to leave the Dáil chamber despite a vote suspending her, after she had repeatedly questioned Tánaiste Joan Burton on water charges.[7]

European Parliament[edit]

In 2004, McDonald became Sinn Féin's first Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the Republic of Ireland when she was elected at the 2004 European Parliament election for the Dublin constituency, receiving over 60,000 first preference votes.[8] She served as one of two Sinn Féin MEPs, the other being Bairbre de Brún who was representing Northern Ireland. In 2007, she was shortlisted for the 'MEP of the Year' award by the European Parliament magazine watching for "making the most valuable contribution in the field of employment policy".[9] During her time in office she led the Sinn Féin campaign against the Treaty of Lisbon, which was rejected in the Republic in 2008. McDonald sat as a member of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and as a substitute of the Civil Liberties Committee.

For the 2009 European Parliament election, the number of seats for Dublin in the European Parliament was reduced from four to three. McDonald was in a tight race for the last seat against Fianna Fáil's Eoin Ryan and the Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins. McDonald lost her seat to Higgins, being eliminated at the fifth count. Her first preference vote had declined to nearly 48,000.[10] In 2012, McDonald was awarded 'Opposition Politician of the Year' by TV3's Tonight with Vincent Browne political talk show.[11]

Party activity and controversy[edit]

She is a member of the Sinn Féin party leadership as of 2001,[12] and became the party's Vice President, replacing Pat Doherty following the Sinn Féin ardfheis of 22 February 2009.

In September 2003, McDonald attracted criticism when she spoke at a rally in Dublin to commemorate Seán Russell, an IRA leader with links to Nazi Germany.[13][14][15]

In June 2009, McDonald faced criticism after it emerged her campaign office was selling IRA souvenirs and memorabilia.[16][17]

In December 2015, McDonald initially backed Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who she described as a "good republican" despite him having been convicted on nine charges of tax evasion, following a trial held in the Special Criminal court after the last person to testify against Murphy in a court was bludgeoned to death after a 1999 court case in Dublin.[18][19] She later failed to back party leader Gerry Adams' assertion that Thomas Murphy is a "good republican" after a BBC Spotlight investigation accused Murphy of being a "mass murderer".[20]

At the party conference on 18 November 2017, Gerry Adams was re-elected party leader, but announced that he would ask the Sinn Féin party leadership to call for a special ardfheis to be held within three months to choose a new president, and that he would not stand for re-election as TD for Louth in the next election.[21]

At the close of nominations to succeed Adams as party leader on 20 January 2018, McDonald was announced as the President-elect of Sinn Féin, as she was the sole nominee to enter the race. She was confirmed as party leader at a special ardfheis on 10 February in Dublin.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ms. Mary Lou McDonald". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Mary Lou McDonald confirmed as new leader of Sinn Féin". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  3. ^ "TDs who went to private schools split over cuts". Irish Independent. 2 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Mary Lou McDonald MEP Dublin". Sinn Féin Online. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Bringing about change, delivering results, An Phoblacht, 11 December 2008
  6. ^ Deaglán de Bréadún: Mary Lou McDonald's leadership could mark a turning point for republicanism, Irish News, 1 January, 2018
  7. ^ "Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald refuses to leave the Dail – despite being suspended". Irish Independent. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "EU elections 2004 results – Dublin". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  9. ^ "Mary Lou McDonald shortlisted for MEP of the Year Award - An Phoblacht". www.anphoblacht.com. 
  10. ^ "Ryan loses out to Higgins in Dublin". RTÉ News. 8 June 2008. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  11. ^ Croffey, Amy. "Vincent Browne announces his 2012 Political Awards". 
  12. ^ "MEP profile". European Parliament. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Cusack, Jim (6 June 2004). "SF's Nazi hero is stalking candidate Mary Lou". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2008. SINN FEIN'S Mary Lou McDonald has been accused of "warped principles" for participating in a republican commemoration ceremony last year for a Nazi collaborator while standing as a candidate for the European Parliament. 
  14. ^ McDonald, Henry (16 January 2005). "This dastardly plot". The Observer. London. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  15. ^ Colgan, Paul; Callanan, Neil. "Profile: Prime time Shinner". The Sunday Business Post. Archived from the original on 19 October 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2008. She encountered criticism after speaking at a commemoration for IRA volunteer Sean Russell last year. 
  16. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (2 June 2009). "IRA souvenirs sell well in McDonald HQ". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "Sinn Fein VP Mary Lou Mcdonald slammed for allowing sale of IRA souvenirs". Irish Central. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  18. ^ Moriarty, Gerry (20 December 2015). "Gerry Adams had little choice but to stand by 'Slab' Murphy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  19. ^ O'Connor, Niall; Doyle, Kevin; Cusack, Jim (22 December 2015). "Now Mary Lou backs 'good republican' Slab". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Ó Cionnaith, Fiachra (5 February 2016). "Mary Lou McDonald stays silent on support for Thomas 'Slab' Murphy". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Doyle, Kevin (18 November 2017). "Gerry Adams to step down as Sinn Féin leader in 2018". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 November 2017. 

External links[edit]

European Parliament
Preceded by
Patricia McKenna
Green Party
Member of the European Parliament
for Dublin

20042009
Succeeded by
Joe Higgins
Socialist Party
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mitchel McLaughlin
Chair of Sinn Féin
2005–2009
Succeeded by
Declan Kearney
Preceded by
Pat Doherty
Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin
2009–2018
Succeeded by
Michelle O'Neill
Preceded by
Gerry Adams
Leader of Sinn Féin
2018–present
Incumbent
Oireachtas
Preceded by
Cyprian Brady
Fianna Fáil
Sinn Féin Teachta Dála
for Dublin Central

2011–present
Incumbent