Duo in line for MEP spot left by Hayes exit
Fine Gael is looking at the head of a pro-European think-tank and an SDLP politician to make a bid for Europe.
The imminent exit of MEP Brian Hayes - who has announced plans to leave politics when his current term in the European Parliament ends in May - has left a space on the ballot paper for the party in Dublin. Former TD Lucinda Creighton, who left the party in a row over the Protection of Life bill in 2013, has been mooted as a potential to run but is understood to have ruled it out at this stage.
The party is believed to be looking at various options including Noelle O'Connell, head of European Movement Ireland, and SDLP MLA Claire Hanna.
Ms Hanna, a Belfast South MLA, has been highly critical of her party's proposed merger with Fianna Fáil.
Senator Neale Richmond has ruled himself out as a potential candidate as he has been selected to run for a Dáil seat in Dublin Rathdown.