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New Sinn Fein leader pledges to work towards Irish unity referendum

The leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams has stepped down after 34 years in his role, allowing Mary Lou McDonald to take over as the new party president at a special conference on Saturday. 

Mr Adams had announced his resignation in November last year. 

In her first address as party president, Ms McDonald said she would work towards a referendum on Irish unity. 

"I want us to achieve this with respect, graciousness and generosity," she said. "Irish unity cannot be a crude exercise of simply stitching north to south and returning to business as usual.

"We do not want a 32 county free state. We want a new Ireland, in which rights are guaranteed, cultures respected and the diversity of our identities embraced."