Several prestigious domestic and European job vacancies will be filled in the coming weeks. In Europe, the EU is set to get its first president and Ireland will appoint Charlie McCreevy's successor to the European Commission. At home, two people will be elected to the Seanad, and there may even be a vacant position on the European Court of Auditors in Luxemburg.
So where are the vacancies, who are the office-seekers and what odds are bookmakers Paddy Power giving on the likely candidates getting the job?
The position of first president of the European Council is a new role and a list of possible candidates is ever growing. Some are globally renowned while others are less well-known.
The president can be appointed only if the Lisbon treaty is ratified so everything hinges on the Czechs. If they ratify Lisbon, the Swedish will be eager to implement it during their EU presidency. So an informal extraordinary meeting of EU leaders could take place later this month that could pave the way for Lisbon to come into effect by the end of the year. With that, Europe will have its first president.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair was the only name in contention for some months but the fact that EU socialist leaders could not agree to support him has undermined Blair's chances.
Luxembourg's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Dutch prime minister Jan Pater Balkenende are the other two most talked-about candidates.
Each member state is testing the water with names to see if they sink or swim. Former taoiseach John Bruton, who is finishing a five-year term as EU ambassador to the United States, threw his hat into the ring by writing to the ambassadors of all 27 EU countries in the US to express his interest.
He has since been backed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen and foreign affairs minister Micheál Martin.
Certain complex political factors come into play in an appointment such as this. These include personality, political orientation, whether a candidate is from a large or small member state, or from an 'old Europe' or a newer accession state.
Tony Blair (7/4), Jan Peter Balkenende (11/ 4), Jean-Claude Juncker (9/2),Wolfgang Schussel (8/1), Guy Verhofstadt (12/1), John Bruton (12/1), Felipe Gonzalez (14/1), Anders Fogh Rasmussen (16/1), Martti Ahtisaari (16/1), François Fillon (16/1), Herman Van Rompuy (16/1), Aleksander Kwasniewski (18/1), Tarja Halonen (18/1), Paavo Lipponen (20/1), Mary Robinson (25/1), Gerhard Schröder (33/1), Jacques Chirac (40/1), Bertie Ahern (80/1).
Charlie McCreevy's five-year tenure on the EU commission is about to come to an end. The commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, will announce his 27-strong commission in a few weeks and the new commissioners are expected to take office some time in mid-January. Nominations for the commission could be made by the end of this month.
Former justice minister Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is the favourite to take this job. As the Dáil arithmetic is tight after several defections from the Fianna Fáil party, Taoiseach Brian Cowen cannot really afford to offer the job to any of his sitting TDs so he is expected to look outside the Dáil chamber.
There has been much speculation about Pat Cox, former president of the European parliament. There is strong support for him in the European Liberal and Democratic Group (ELDR), of which Fianna Fáil recently became a member, and he is held in high esteem following his involvement in the successful second Lisbon referendum campaign.
However, Barroso wrote a letter to Cowen and other EU prime ministers suggesting they consider appointing a woman, to improve the commission's gender balance.
Appointing a woman could give Ireland a better chance of getting a stronger portfolio on the commission. While speculation over Mary Coughlan becoming commissioner for agriculture seems misplaced, the appointment of Geoghegan-Quinn could help to fulfil Barroso's request.
Catherine Day, the Irish woman who is the most senior civil servant in the EU, has also been the subject of speculation. She has been the secretary-general of the European Commission since 2005 but sources in Europe claim the government is more likely to choose a political figure.
Enda Kenny put John Bruton's name forward a fortnight ago but Bruton's eyes are on a higher prize.
Former Dublin MEP Eoin Ryan has also been tipped for the job. So too has former Labour leader and finance minister Ruairí Quinn. Quinn's appointment would give the opposition one vote less in the Dáil but it is hard to see a Fianna Fáil loyalist such as Cowen giving the job to a Labour TD.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (1/ 2), Pat Cox (13/8), Eoin Ryan (6/1), Catherine Day (8/1). Mary Coughlan (20/1), Ruairí Quinn (40/1), John Bruton (50/1)
Three weeks ago, the government indicated its plan to fill two vacancies in the Seanad brought about by Labour senator Alan Kelly's election to the European parliament and the death of Fianna Fáil senator Tony Kett.
Elections to fill the two seats, one on the administrative panel and one on the agricultural panel, have to take place within the next 180 days.
There is a third vacancy in the Seanad since the death of Fianna Fáil senator Peter Callanan in Cork a few weeks ago but that vacancy is not expected to be filled for some time.
Former lord mayor of Dublin Eibhlin Byrne (below) has expressed an interest in one of the two available seats. Byrne, who contested the European elections in Dublin on 5 June, is just one of a host of potential Fianna Fail candidates. Her running mate in the Euro elections, former MEP Eoin Ryan, is also in the reckoning.
It is expected that both seats will be filled by representatives of Fianna Fáil or the Green Party. Likely Green Party candidates are Galway's Niall Ó Brolcháin and councillors Brian Meaney from Clare and Mark Dearey from Louth.
Sources say councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, from former taoiseach Bertie Ahern's Dublin Central constituency, is well-placed to take one of the seats. If she did, she might be replaced on Dublin city council by Bertie Ahern's brother, Maurice Ahern, who would be co-opted onto the council after losing his council seat in June.
Shay Brennan, son of the late Séamus Brennan, who unsuccessfully contested the Dublin South by-election, has been mooted as a possible candidate. The media profile of a senator would help Brennan if he were to contest any future general election but the proliferation of senators in Dublin South may go against Brennan's chances; Maria Corrigan, Larry Butler and Ann Ormond are all from that area.
Other Fianna Fáil names being mooted for the Seanad seats are Michael Smith from Tipperary North, who is a son of former minister Michael Smith, and Kerry county councillor John Brassil.
Due to the nature of the selection of candidates from various panels, such as the agricultural panel, for the Seanad by-elections, Paddy Power is not giving odds on these elections until the nominations are available.
If Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is appointed as the next Irish commissioner to the EU, another vacancy will open in the European Court of Auditors.
Based in Luxemburg, the European Court of Auditors is the EU institution charged with carrying out the audit of European Union finance. It comprises one member for each EU member state and its audits are used for the collection and spending of EU funds.
Since 1999, Geoghegan-Quinn has held the low-profile EU post of Irish representative at the court in Luxemburg. She is responsible for auditing the EU's external action budget, which looks at areas such as aid to developing countries, and her term in that position is not due to run out until 2012. She has been serving her second term on the court since 2006.
No vacancy has yet arisen and it is not yet certain if one will arise at all, but there has been speculation about certain possible candidates.
Green party chairman Dan Boyle's name has been mentioned several times in recent weeks. While Boyle might like the job, he is at present fulfilling the Green Party's 'bad cop' role by publicly questioning the party's every move in government in an orchestrated attempt to keep grassroots members on side. For that reason, the Greens might be better served by keeping him in his current job.
The two Fianna Fáil names associated with the position so far have been Eoin Ryan (who is mentioned in connection with every political job that comes up) and the ambitious young senator Marc MacSharry.
Labour's Ruairí Quinn, whose name has also been linked to the commissioner vacancy, might make a suitable candidate as he is a former minister for finance.
Eoin Ryan (6/4), Dan Boyle (2/1), Marc MacSharry (10/1), others on request.
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A glorious bunch.