Brendan Howlin is enthusiastic and quite able. However he is Leas Ceann Comhairle. He will probably run. He prefers coalition with FF. The next General Election is due in 2012 by which time people will be sufficiently tired of FF to throw that party out of power. Howlin may not be the right leader on that account.
Joan Burton Liz McManus and Roisin Shorthall may also stand. Though formidable politicians it is doubtful if any one of the three would have the depth of support necessary to win.
Finally Willie Penrose has a powerful organisation in the Longford-Westmeath constituency. If he decides not to stand he could be a king maker.
At this juncture it appears that Gilmore(Democratic Left) and Howlin (Old Labour) will be the front runners.