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Mary Lou McDonald was born in Dublin on May 1, 1969 and is the new president of Sinn Fein. Her father, Patrick, was a very successful surveyor, married to Joan. She has two brothers: Bernard, a scientist and Patrick, a patent lawyer. Her sister, Joanne, is a teacher. She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, studying English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource management.
After leaving university, the politician ran for the leadership unopposed and had served as deputy leader since February 2008. She has been a Member of Dáil Éireann, the equivalent of an MP, for Dublin Central since 2011 and had previously served as an MEP for the Dublin constituency from 2004 to 2009.
McDonald was previously a member of Fianna Fáil, another Irish republican party, although quit to join Sinn Fein in 1998. She first ran for public office back in 2002, unsuccessfully contesting the Dublin West seat, winning just eight per cent of the vote. She married her husband Martin Lanigan in 1996 and has two children. Raised in the affluent Rathgar area, she she has two brothers and a sister. She has previously said that she ‘completely understood and understand why people volunteered for the IRA’.
Mary Lou McDonald Full Biography and Profile
Mary Lou McDonald (Mary Louise McDonald) was born on 1 May 1969. Mary Lou McDonald a Leader of Sinn Féin and Teachta Dála for the Dublin Central constituency. Mary Lou is married to Martin and they have two young children, Iseult and Gerard. She is proud to represent the people of Dublin Central where she has a reputation for hard work and championing the needs of her constituency both locally and nationally.
Prior to becoming Leader of Sinn Féin in February 2018 Mary Lou was Deputy Leader of the party. Following her election to the Dáil in 2011 Mary Lou was Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform and on her re-election in 2016 Sinn Féin’s All-Ireland Spokesperson for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. She was a prominent member of the Public Accounts Committee between 2011 and 2017 holding Ministers and senior civil servants to account. She has also served on the Joint Oireachtas Committees for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Future of Mental Health.
She was an MEP for Dublin from 2004 to 2009 and during her time in the European Parliament Mary Lou was a prominent member of the Employment and Social Affairs committee and Civil Liberties committee.
Educated in Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and Dublin City University she studied English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource Management. She previously worked as a consultant for the Irish Productivity Centre, a researcher for the Institute of European Affairs and a trainer in the trade union sponsored Partnership Unit of the Educational and Training Services Trust.
She later joined the Irish National Congress, a fringe Republican group, but left and before long she joined Sinn Féin, becoming the party’s standard bearer in Dublin West, where she stood unsuccessfully for the party in the 2002 general election. In 2004, describing her occupation as a “peace negotiator”, she won a seat for the party in the European Parliament. The coming political party needed politicians, and McDonald was on the up.
But setbacks followed: in 2007 she failed to be elected to the Dáil and in 2009, she lost her European Parliament seat. But she did not lose faith, nor did the party lose faith in her. By now she was vice-president of the party, and openly speculated on as a future leader. She finally won a Dáil seat in 2011, comfortably retaining it in 2016.
By then she was more or less accepted as Adams’ successor, having demonstrated complete loyalty to the leader during the excruciating controversies involving sex abuse in the Republican movement, and in Adams own family.
Mary Lou McDonald Quotes
In the spring of 1981, when she was just 12 years old, Mary Lou McDonald was watching a news programme about the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland:
“Anyone of my generation who saw those images of the H-blocks beamed into their homes was changed. For me it was the precise moment that I, as a Dublin girl, realised how seriously wrong something was. I completely understood and understand why people volunteered for the IRA. I support and recognise the right to meet force with force. Do I understand why volunteers came forward; was it necessary to take up arms against the British state in the north? I believe it was, even though I take no pleasure in saying that.”
- Mary Lou McDonald Biography and Profile (Mary Lou McDonald / Politicoscope)