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>> Irish Nationalist Party Sinn Fein has named Michelle O'Neill as it's new leader, replacing veteran Martin McGuinness, just weeks ahead of Northern Ireland's elections. The appointment of 40 year old O'Neill marking a shift towards a generation not directly involved in the long Northern Irish conflict. McGuinness, previously an IRA leader, was deeply engaged in decades of battle in the country.
He stepped down last week, mentioning a recent illness and the government crisis as the causes. The fresh elections were triggered by his own resignation as Deputy First Minister over First Minister Arlene Foster's handling of a controversial green energy scheme. As Health Minister in the outgoing government, O'Neill lifted a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
She referred to her predecessor as a political giant in a video posted online by the party. The March 2nd elections could result in Sinn Fein's new head being named Deputy or even First Minister.