Who's in the running
NONE of the political parties will be rushing out to select candidates for the Donegal North-East by-election, as few expect the vacancy caused by Jim McDaid's resignation to be filled before a general election.
But the sprawling constituency would be near the top of the list if Taoiseach Brian Cowen had to choose a battleground for a by-election.
Fianna Fail got just over 50pc of the vote in the last general election in 2007. On that occasion, Dr McDaid had reversed his decision to retire and ran again.
After the return of the Blaney family's Independent Fianna Fail organisation to the party a year earlier, Fianna Fail went into the last election with three TDs -- but came out with two.
If there was a by-election, Fianna Fail would use it to road-test a candidate for the general election.
Along with Niall Blaney TD, the party will run either new councillor Charlie McConalogue or Senator Cecilia Keaveney, who lost her Dail seat in 2007.
Both are from the Inishowen peninsula -- but only one of them will be on the ticket.
Fine Gael would most likely run Cllr John Ryan from Buncrana, but its sitting TD, Joe McHugh, will not have a running mate in a general election.
The Labour Party will run former Fine Gael councillor Jimmy Harte and Sinn Fein will run councillor Padraig MacLochlainn, who performed well in 2007.
Dr McDaid rejected speculation yesterday that he intends to run as an independent in the next general election.