Nominations closed at 5pm this evening for the leadership of Sinn Féin.

Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was expected to be the sole candidate.

Outgoing Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams announced at the party ard fheis in November that he would be stepping down from the role after 34 years.

A special ard fheis will be held on 10 February to ratify the new leader's promotion.

Two other leadership contenders in the party, finance spokesman Pearse Doherty and Northern leader Michelle O'Neill, both said they would not be seeking nominations for the position.

The party's ard comhairle will meet tomorrow to finalise the preparation for the ard fheis.

Dozens of party members have been tweeting their support for Ms McDonald.

Fiachra McGuinness, son of the late Martin McGuinness, said that he was "proud and honoured to endorse" Ms McDonald.

He said his father was a "huge admirer of her ideas, dedication and commitment", adding that she is the "ideal candidate to lead Sinn Féin into the future".