Election snapshot: Leinster lineout
Published 12/01/2011 | 05:00
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's retirement and Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk's automatic election leaves FF with a new line-up of James Carroll and Declan Breathnach presumably fighting for one seat.
FG's Fergus O'Dowd awaits the identity of his running mate -- potentially Louth county football manager Peter Fitzpatrick.
Labour's Ged Nash is a serious contender and may get a running mate. Sinn Fein is expecting Gerry Adams to harness Arthur Morgan's solid vote after his parachuting in.
Green Mark Dearey is going against the tide but can't be ruled out.
The retirement of FF's Mary Wallace leaves her seat up for grabs.
FF TD Thomas Byrne will probably be joined by Nick Killian or Sharon Keogan.
But Labour's Dominic Hannigan is the favourite to win.
FG's Regina Doherty will give him a run for his money as she joins sitting TD Shane McEntee on the ticket.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey will be replaced on the FF ticket by Shane Cassells, who will likely run with Johnny Brady -- as of now.
But one of FF's two seats is in the firing line of Labour, Sinn Fein and FG. Labour's Jenny McHugh is perfectly placed geographically but Sinn Fein's Peadar Toibin is also a contender.
FG's ticket of Damien English and Catherine Yore may yet be added and two seats can't be ruled out.
FF's Peter Kelly and Mary O'Rourke are joined by Robert Troy, with the party under pressure from less than inspiring competition.
Labour's Willie Penrose has got former PD TD Mae Sexton with him, while FG's Nicky McFadden is also in contention as she teams up with James Bannon.
But if the numbers don't add up for FF, then somebody has to take a seat.
Brian Cowen's backyard and FF's three seats, held by the Taoiseach, John Moloney and Sean Fleming can't be regarded as secure.
FG's Charlie Flanagan is joined by new bloods Liam Quinn and Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy bidding to replace Olwyn Enright.
Former IFA boss Padraig Walshe may also run to seriously bolster the line-up.
Labour's John Whelan is a contentious addition.
Sinn Fein's Brian Stanley ought not be written off.
Despite his battle with illness, FF's Mick Fitzpatrick is running and again joins Aine Brady in the fray.
But their seats are being targeted by Labour with Emmet Stagg joined by John McGinley and FG's Bernard Durkan has a new running mate in Anthony Lawlor.
However, former Independent TD Catherine Murphy is probably the most significant contender in the constituency.
FF's Sean Power and Sean O Fearghail are on the road again, but if FG can't take back Alan Dukes' old seat, there's something seriously wrong.
Martin Heydon is getting a clear run as the sole candidate, indicating if FG HQ fell he could do it.
Labour's Jack Wall is also in the field and should be rock solid.
Independent Paddy Kennedy is also in the field.
FF's Dick Roche will be running runs again with Pat Fitzgerald. Their running mate last time, Joe Behan, is now an Independent.
FG's Andrew Doyle and Billy Timmins are joined by Simon Harris, who will challenge his running mates as much as his opponents.
Labour's Liz McManus is replaced by Tom Fortune, Conal Kavanagh and Anne Ferris.
But two seats look to be a stretch, especially if Nicky Kelly runs as an Independent.
Sinn Fein's John Brady is also a player.
FF is having a tricky time with John Browne kicking up, but he's expected to run with Sean Connick.
FG's Paul Kehoe, Michael D'Arcy and Liam Twomey will put up a credible fight for three seats.
Labour's Brendan Howlin could improve his chances of a Cabinet place if he brings in running mate Pat Cody.