A total of 59 candidates have declared they will contest next month's European parliament elections including ex-ministers, former presidential candidates, farmers and academics among others. With just over five weeks until polling day, candidates for the three European constituencies have lodged their nominations as campaigning heats up in the coming days.
The latest figures to confirm they will seek an MEP seat were Independents Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, who will run in Ireland South and Dublin.
Both could do well if those two constituencies are enlarged to five and four-seat areas respectively. This will only happen if Britain agrees to leave the EU next month - freeing up its seats for other EU member states, including Ireland. A number of former ministers will seek seats in Europe, including Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald in Dublin, Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher in Ireland South and Labour's Dominic Hannigan in the Midlands-North-West constituency. Junior agriculture minister Andrew Doyle is also running in Ireland South.
In general, the European elections are complicated by the fact that there will be two counts in Dublin and Ireland South. The first will be if both constituencies are enlarged, as envisaged with Brexit. A second count will allow for if there is no Brexit and both areas revert to being three and four-seaters.
As of this evening, there were 23 candidates listed on the returning officer's website for Ireland South, while Dublin had 19 contenders named and the vast Midlands-North-West constituency had 14 people identified as nominated to compete in the May 24 poll. Another three candidates for that constituency have been named elsewhere.
With several TDs running in the election, the outcome could trigger a number of by-elections which would likely be held in the autumn.
In Ireland South, Deirdre Clune (FG), Sean Kelly (FG) and Liadh Ní Riada (SF) will defend seats while in Dublin Lynn Boylan (SF) is the only MEP looking to be returned after a decision by Brian Hayes (FG) and Nessa Childers (Independent) not to seek re-election.
Other significant figures contesting a seat in Dublin include Senator Alice Mary Higgins, an Independent and daughter of President Michael D Higgins, as well as former Labour minister Alex White.
In Midlands-North-West, sitting MEPs who are running again are Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Ind), Mairéad McGuinness (FG) and Matt Carthy (SF).
Ireland South candidates
Jan Van De Ven, Co Wexford, Entrepreneur
Diarmuid Patrick O’Flynn, Co Cork, European Parliament Accredited Parliamentary Assistant
Billy Kelleher, Co Cork, TD
Malcolm Byrne, Co Wexford, Head of Communications, HEA
Deirdre Clune, Cork, MEP
Liadh Ní Riada, Co Chorcaí, MEP
Grace O’Sullivan, Co Waterford, Senator
Adrienne Wallace,Co Carlow, Office Administrator
Seán Kelly,Co Kerry, MEP
Paddy Fitzgerald, Co Tipperary, Retired Farmer
Andrew Doyle, Co Wicklow, TD
Walter Ryan-Purcell, Co Kerry, Tour Operator
Peter O’Loughlin, Cork,Teacher
Liam Minehan, Co Tipperary, Farmer
Theresa Heaney, Co Cork, Homemaker
Dolores J Cahill, Co Tipperary, Professor
Maurice Joseph Sexton, Cork City, Scientist
Mick Wallace, Co Wexford, TD
Breda Patricia Gardner, Co Kilkenny, Complementary Health Therapist
Allan J Brennan, Co Wicklow, Project Manager
Sheila Nunan, Kilternan, Dublin 18, Teacher
Colleen Worthington, Cork, Homemaker
Peter Madden, Co Tipperary, Environmental Educator