Rising son: Shay Brennan, pictured with his mother Ann and sister Aoife, is expected to attempt to follow in his father's footsteps

REMEMBER Jo Moore? She was the British Labour party aide whose news management memo was leaked on 11 September 2001.

Penned on the day of the World Trade Centre attacks, Moore's memo to transport secretary Stephen Byers suggested, "It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury."

Fianna Fáil has adopted a similar philosophy ahead of the two by-elections on 5 June to fill the vacant seats of deceased TDs Séamus Brennan and Tony Gregory.

A government party has not won a by-election since July 1982 when Noel Treacy won a seat in East Galway so the odds are certainly stacked against Fianna Fáil in both by-elections.

The party was already openly talking down its prospects in the local and European elections. So the addition of the by-elections could mean a 'Black Friday' for the party on 5 June.

Dublin Central

This is Bertie's backyard and he hasn't gone away, you know. The former taoiseach was canvassing with his older brother Maurice last week. Already running for the local elections, Maurice could have his brother's electoral machine behind him in the by-election if he is selected at the party convention in the Skylon Hotel on Wednesday night.

Mary Fitzpatrick, who is widely believed to have been "shafted" in the 2007 general election as the 'Drumcondra Mafia' favoured Ahern's ally Cyprian Brady, is believed to be favoured by party headquarters but Bertie Ahern's people still have the ability to control a constituency convention. A local source said, "If Maurice runs you will have the Ahern machine behind him and nobody can underestimate that. If there is an Ahern running this will be a three horse race. If not it will be a two horse race between Fine Gael and Labour."

That said, Maurice is not particularly close to the Drumcondra Mafia and is the 'Ahern' brand what it was? Councillor Tom Stafford's and activist John Stephens' names are also being mentioned in Fianna Fáil circles.

Labour are expected to poll well but they were nervous about running councillor Emer Costello as she is married to sitting TD Joe and it would be impossible to hold two Dáil seats in future.

Instead, in a move that has angered some grassroots members, 'parachute candidate' Ivana Bacik will now be selected by the party to run on Tuesday night.

Fine Gael's Senator Paschal Donohoe is spending a lot of money and has opened a constituency office in Phibsborough. Locals say that despite a lot of advance publicity, he got a small turnout at a recent public meeting in the area. Fine Gael has not won a seat here since 1997. He will also find it difficult to garner votes in the north inner city. But Donohoe does have the profile of a senator, does not have the added baggage of a local election fight on the same day and his affable personality will win votes across party lines.

The late Tony Gregory's achievements will not be forgotten but is the personal 'Gregory vote' transferable to his former election agent, councillor Maureen O'Sullivan? It will be difficult for her to take the seat as the quota will be over 12,000 votes, a high target for a relatively inexperienced councillor.

Sinn Féin has ruled out MEP Mary Lou McDonald so they are expected to select local favourite Christy Burke, although councillor Seamus McGrattan and party activist Ruadhan MacAodhain have also been mentioned. David Geary will be the Greens' candidate in the constituency.

Dublin South

Fianna Fáil will decide who they will put forward to contest the seat of the late Séamus Brennan at a convention in the Goat Bar on Wednesday night. At this point, Senator Maria Corrigan looks like the most likely candidate to go forward but other options cannot be ruled out.

Brennan's son Shay considered standing but reportedly declined as he works for Anglo Irish Bank and, although he is not working in a senior role, it was thought it would make him an unpalatable candidate.

The seat will be very difficult for Fianna Fáil to hold and a Brennan may have the best chance so Shay is understood to be again considering running over the weekend.

Councillor John Lahart's name was mooted last week but he said it would "not be logistically possible for me to mount an effective campaign … [as] I have commenced my campaign for the local elections in Rathfarnham/Knocklyon".

Given that Labour's Senator Alex White has been the only candidate in the race for over six months means that he has put himself into a pole position by increasing his profile. Dublin South is not a Labour stronghold and the party has not won a seat there since Eithne Fitzgerald's poll topping 17,256 first preference votes in 1997.

White said: "I don't underestimate the challenge ahead. There is an air of unreality about a campaign with only one candidate in the field. The Fine Gael candidate must be very shy as they are very reticent about coming forward."

Fine Gael has been adamant for 10 months that they have a big name candidate and everyone from RTé's George Lee to Alan Dukes has been mooted ahead of Wednesday's convention. Councillor Jim O'Leary, who stood in the 2007 general election, may stand although it was mooted around Leinster House last week that former PD TD Liz O'Donnell may return to politics as the Fine Gael candidate on the condition that sitting Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell would become the party's 2011 presidential candidate.

Sinn Féin will put forward a party publicity officer, Shaun Tracey, and the Greens have selected Elizabeth Davidson.