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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Two of Mary Lou's potential rivals have ruled themselves out of the SF leadership race

Who will take over from Gerry Adams? It won’t be Michelle O’Neill or Pearse Doherty.

Michelle O'Neill and Pearse Doherty have ruled themselves out of contention.
Michelle O'Neill and Pearse Doherty have ruled themselves out of contention.

TWO SENIOR SINN Féin members have ruled themselves out of the upcoming party leadership contest, paving the way for frontrunner Mary Lou McDonald.

Pearse Doherty, the party’s Dáil finance spokesperson, confirmed on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning that he would not be letting his name go forward.

The Donegal TD had previously flagged that he would not be interested in the role this time around, he said.

Doherty cited personal reasons for the decision, telling the programme he had young children and needed to balance his time between being a father and his political life.

Michelle O’Neill, the party’s Stormont leader, said yesterday she had “enough to do” in her current role.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, O’Neill – who took over from Martin McGuinness in the role in advance of this year’s assembly election – said she would be concentrating on dealing with “problems in the North”.

Doherty said he would not be making a public declaration of who he would be supporting in the contest.

O’Neill said she would also wait to see the list of candidates before declaring her preference.

Gerry Adams told the party’s Ard Fheis on Saturday night that he would be stepping down as president after 34 years, and would not be running for the next Dáil.

It’s expected a special conference will be held next year to select a new leader, with Mary Lou McDonald, the current deputy leader, seen as the favourite to take over.

Adams embarked on a round of interviews yesterday in the wake of his departure announcement, insisting to RTÉ he would not contest any election for the Áras.

He wouldn’t miss the Dáil, he told The Week In Politics, saying “it would fry your head to listen to the nonsense that is talked” in the chamber.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have ruled themselves out of any kind of coalition arrangement with Sinn Féin after the next election.

Read: Gerry Adams will not stand for Irish presidency >

Read: Gerry Adams announces he is to step down as Sinn Féín president next year >

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Daragh Brophy

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