A further 80 candidates have been nominated by designated bodies to contest the upcoming Seanad elections.

It is expected more former TDs who failed to be elected in the General Election will be picked to contest the race for the Upper House.

Two Ministers of State in the last Government have been nominated to contest the election.

Dr Martin Mansergh from Tipperary and Sean Connick from Wexford were among 78 candidates who have been put forward by nominating bodies representing various groups.

Dr Mansergh was nominated by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

12 candidates are seeking election to the Labour panel, 11 for the administrative panel, 18 on the agricultural panel, 11 on the cultural and educational panel and 26 on the industry and commerce panel.

11 of the seats in the new Seanad will be nominated by the Taoiseach.

Six are filled by an election among university graduates and the remaining 43 are elected for various panels by members of the Dáil, the outgoing Seanad and by members of city and county councils qualified to vote.

An additional 47 candidates have already declared their candidacy for the university seats.

The deadline for nomination by designated bodies closed at noon today.

The deadline for nomination by Oireachtas members expires on 21 March.