Changing of the guard after 34 years of Adams

After 34 years, the changing of the guard has come - with Mary Lou McDonald set to take over the role of Sinn Fein leader.

The Dublin woman has been clear favourite for some time to replace Gerry Adams, one of the longest serving party leaders in the world.

She was once described by her party colleague Caral Ni Chuilin as "one of the most formidable women in politics".

Born in 1969, Ms McDonald's background is very different from other leading Sinn Fein politicians.

She was raised in the affluent Rathgar area of Dublin and was educated at Notre Dame, a private fee-paying school in the city. She is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Limerick and DCU.

Her first formal link to politics was as a consultant and researcher with the Institute of European Affairs, a think tank run by Brendan Halligan, the former Labour TD.

In the late 1990s, she joined Fianna Fail in Dublin West, defecting to Sinn Fein shortly afterwards.

In 2002, Ms McDonald was Sinn Fein's candidate in Dublin West, but she failed to win a seat in the Dail (Irish parliament).

But two years later, she made history by becoming the party's first MEP.

By 2009, she was deputy leader of the party - and in 2011 became a member of the Dail for Dublin Central.

She is now set to become the party's first ever female leader.

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