OUTSPOKEN cancer specialist Professor John Crown and Sinn Fein's Eoin O Broin are among the surprise Seanad Eireann candidates in the three-seater National University of Ireland constituency.
Prof Crown, who is non-party, said last night that if elected his Seanad salary would go toward hiring a young researcher in the cancer field.
A strong advocate for reform of the health service, Prof Crown was persuaded by a number of friends to run.
He is one of 27 candidates in the field, which also includes outgoing NUI senators Ronan Mullen and Feargal Quinn, but not Joe O'Toole, who has stepped down.
The other big surprise is the entry of Sinn Fein into the university constituency. Aengus O Snodaigh TD proposed party colleague Eoin O Broin, who was narrowly defeated in Dublin Mid-West for a Dail seat.
About 100,000 NUI graduates are registered to take part in the postal vote, which takes place from March 21 to April 27.
Meanwhile, Labour's Ivana Bacik, who narrowly missed a Dail seat in Dun Laoghaire, is seeking to retain her Seanad seat in the Trinity constituency, which is also a three-seater despite having only half the number of graduates eligible to vote -- 53,655.
David Norris is also running again, while the third outgoing senator, Shane Ross, has been elected to the Dail.
The 20 Trinity candidates include economist and TCD lecturer Dr Sean Barrett, broadcaster Marc Coleman and Tony Williams, one of four hopefuls from the legal profession.