Decision on new election bid ‘a matter for Maria Bailey’, says minister
Josepha Madigan refused to be drawn on any new campaign by the Fine Gael politician.
A Fine Gael minister has refused to say whether she thinks her party colleague Maria Bailey should stand for election again.
Ms Bailey was at the centre of a scandal when it emerged she had taken legal action against Dublin’s Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing in its cocktail bar, Sophie’s.
The action – which was initiated in 2015, before she was elected a TD for Fine Gael in Dun Laoghaire – claimed she suffered painful injuries which resulted in her being unable to run properly, but it later emerged she had run a 10km weeks after the incident.
Ms Bailey was widely criticised as her own party was cracking down on the insurance industry, and it was noted that it damaged the party electorally as the country voted in local and European elections.
Josepha Madigan – who is now Minister for Culture and Heritage, but was then a backbench TD – gave initial legal advice and assisted Ms Bailey with her Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) application.
Asked on Tuesday if Ms Bailey should stand for election again, Ms Madigan refused to be drawn.
“That’s a matter for Maria Bailey to decide, you know, I think, from my own perspective, my own role is beyond reproach and I’ve always maintained the highest professional standards,” she said.
“From the perspective of that I know a little bit of what she must’ve gone through herself – what she suffered for this, having to resign as chair of the housing committee and other committees – but whether she runs or not, it’s up to her or Fine Gael.”
Asked if she had spoken with Ms Bailey since the incident was first publicised, Ms Madigan replied: “I haven’t, no.”
An internal review was ordered by Leo Varadkar to investigate the circumstances of the claim, which resulted in the removal of Ms Bailey as chairwoman of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.
“Deputy Bailey signed an affidavit that overstated the impact of her injuries on her running,” the Taoiseach said.
“There have been inconsistencies in Deputy Bailey’s account of events to me and the media that I cannot reconcile.”
Earlier this month, Ms Bailey announced she would resign as chairwoman of the Select Committee on Members’ Interests, which prepares guidelines for members on how to comply with ethics standards.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe would not confirm whether Ms Bailey would remain as a candidate for Dun Laoghaire in the next general election.
Mr Donohoe, who is also Fine Gael’s director of operations, said: “Deputy Bailey has been selected to be a candidate in the general election whenever that comes.”
Asked if he would guarantee her remaining as a candidate, Mr Donohoe responded: “I am not going to be commenting on the different statuses of different candidates that we have at the approaching general election.
“She was selected by her own constituency organisation. I am not going to comment on what her future intentions will be.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment any more on that, not least of which I want to talk to Deputy Bailey.”