Sinn Féin to name replacement for Martin McGuinness in Northern Ireland

Former health minister Michelle O'Neill is seen as the favourite

Sinn Féin to name replacement for Martin McGuinness in Northern Ireland

Martin McGuinness at the Mansion House, Dublin in 2011 | Image:

Sinn Féin will name a successor for Martin McGuinness as party leader in Northern Ireland today.

Michelle O'Neill, who has been serving in Stormont as health minister, is being seen as one of the favourites to get the job.

The Mid-Ulster MLA was the one to confirm last week that her party would not be nominating anyone to refill the deputy first minister role, meaning an election would have to be called.

Ms O'Neill was first elected as an assembly member in March 2007.

She has campaigned on issues of equality, autism, disability, mental health and the rights of rural dwellers.

She served in local government as a member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council from 2005 until 2010 - becoming the first woman to hold the position of Mayor of the Dungannon council area.

Former minister for health in the NI Executive, Michelle O'Neill, at the Mansion House, Dublin | Image:

Following the 2011 assembly election. Ms O'Neill was appointed as Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development.

She was also the first executive minister to decentralise an entire government department - with the relocation of the DARD headquarters to Ballykelly in Derry, Forest Service to Femanagh, Fisheries to south down and Rivers Agency Headquarters to Cookstown.

In May 2016, she was re-elected as an assembly member for Mid Ulster and reappointed to the as minister for health.

She has been active in republican politics since her youth and has held various senior positions within the Sinn Féin party.