I am honoured to have been nominated to represent Sinn Féin elected Representatives on an Ard Comhairle and am looking forward to my first Ard Fheis in my new capacity.
It will be an honour after this Special Ard Fheis to work alongside two inspirational women as they don the mantles of Uachtarán Shinn Féin and Leas-Uachtarán Shinn Féin and the wider national leadership team.
As we enter a new political era with Mary-Lou and Michelle at the helm I have no doubt that Sinn Féin will continue to be on the frontline leading positive change to improve the daily lives of everyone across Ireland.
Sinn Féin wants to be in government north and south to deliver high quality public services on the basis of equality, rights and prosperity and I cherish the opportunity to be a part of a national team tasked with achieving that goal.
We will continue to work against the twin threats of Brexit across the whole island, and British Government austerity in the North.
Our priority is to continue the growth and development of Sinn Féin as a national political movement for Irish Unity and an agreed Ireland.
This is an exciting time to be an Irish republican with the new leadership of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’ Neill the strongest sign that the process of renewal and regeneration of the party is now well and truly under way.
Over half a million people across Ireland are now voting for Sinn Féin to deliver the type of real change which they are demanding. 2018 will be a challenging year for the Irish people.
As the Party engages in fresh efforts to restore the northern political institutions. Sinn Féin is committed to achieving a positive outcome in order to ensure the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement will represent a new positive point in the history of our island.
Sinn Féin with a new Uachtarán and Leas-Uachtarán will face into local government and possible general elections North and South in the next couple of years committed to radically improving public services such as Health, Education and infrastructure across the island.
We will also continue to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit and build support for designated special status for the North within the EU, as the only realistic alternative to the British Tory plan to deliver a hard Brexit border.
We now look forward to another truly historic Ard Fheis and to tackling the political, economic and social challenges presently facing us.