Two sitting TDs are among the nine candidates who will contest next week's Fianna Fáil selection convention in the Midlands North West constituency for May's European Parliament Elections.

Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte and Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith are both vying for the nomination at the convention, scheduled for Longford on 15 March.

There are concerns in Fianna Fáil that losing either TD to Brussels would see the party lose a 'safe seat' in the forthcoming general election. 

Cork South Central TD Billy Kelleher is also seeking a nomination in the Ireland South constituency. 

Last night it emerged that high profile Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness has received a nomination to contest the convention in the same constituency. 

He has been nominated by the party members in Ireland South but he says he intends to stay in the Dáil.

If any sitting TD is elected to the European Parliament, a Dáil by-election must be held within six months of the Euro elections on 24 May.

Fianna Fáil's National Constituencies Committee has directed that one candidate be selected at the Midlands North West convention next week.

Former TD Niall Blaney from Donegal and sitting Senator Aidan Davitt from Westmeath are confirmed to contest that selection convention.

Dundalk-based medical doctor Dr Dilip Mahapatra has been selected by the party organisation in Louth to contest for the nomination. 

Mayo man John Comer, a former chairperson of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association; Gerry Bridgett from Kildare South; Sean Hennelly from Galway and councillor Naoise Ó Cearúil from Kildare North are also bidding to win the nomination.

It is widely expected that Fianna Fáil is well placed to win back the seat lost here by outgoing MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher in 2014.