The Minister for Finance has nominated Central Bank Governor Philip Lane for the post of vice president at the European Central Bank (ECB). 

Euro zone finance ministers launched the process of choosing a new ECB number two last week.

Their choice may offer clues about political positions in the race to replace ECB President Mario Draghi in 2019, euro zone officials told Reuters. 

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, the favourite for the job, is so far the only other publicly known candidate to replace Vitor Constancio, whose exit in May will kick off two years of flux at one of Europe's most vital institutions.

Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed Professor Lane's nomination today.

In a statement, the Minister said that Professor Lane's "outstanding economic, financial and policy making record ideally position him to take a seat at the Executive Board of the European Central Bank."

Mr Donohoe said the candidacy had received support from fellow euro zone ministers.

"I have already received indications of support from my colleagues but of course all my colleagues will wait and see who all the candidates are," he told a news conference.

He said that if Professor Lane was not successful, the Government would assess its options for future ECB roles at another time.

"The vice presidency of the ECB and not to mention the other three (ECB) roles that are coming after are all exceptionally serious and important roles and I believe Philip is of such a caliber that he will attract support from other member states," the Minister said.

"He is an eminently qualified candidate for this role," he added. 

Euro zone governments can present their candidates until 7 February and euro zone finance ministers will vote on 19 February ahead of a European Parliament hearing and final appointment by EU leaders. 

With EU spoils shared around the bloc, selecting a southern European would signal that Mr Draghi's job will go to northern Europe, possibly Germany, euro zone officials, who asked not to be named, have told Reuters.

Handing Ireland a position on the ECB's executive board for the first time next month could change that dynamic. 

French officials have privately expressed support for the Irish candidate, in the hope the nomination of a northern European for the vice-president's job would ensure a more open contest for the presidency. 

Philip Lane, an economics professor who received a doctorate from Harvard and spent time at Columbia University before returning home to Trinity College Dublin, had also been mentioned as a possible candidate to take over as the ECB's chief economist in 2019. 

The 48-year-old was appointed governor of the Central Bank in October 2015 on a seven-year term.

He has acted as an academic consultant for the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and a number of central banks, including the ECB. 

Professor Lane has most recently spearheaded a taskforce in Frankfurt working on a new "safe asset" aimed at breaking a vicious circle of lending by banks to their national governments.