Monday 18 November 2019

Fine Gael HQ urged to review election ticket in Maria Bailey’s constituency

The party’s National Executive Council will have to consider if changes should be made in Dun Laoghaire after a vote by local members.

TD Maria Bailey (Niall Carson/PA)
TD Maria Bailey (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Fine Gael members have carried a motion asking party HQ to urgently review the general election ticket in Maria Bailey’s constituency.

The Dun Laoghaire TD has been under scrutiny since her compensation case for falling off a swing at the Dean Hotel in Dublin in 2015 came to light earlier this year.

Ms Bailey was demoted following an internal review that found she “overstated” the extent of her injuries.

A motion of no-confidence was put down last month by the Blackrock District of Fine Gael, a branch within the Dun Laoghaire constituency.

Fine Gael members gathered at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday night to vote on whether to ask the party’s National Executive to re-examine the ticket in her constituency.

It is understood 152 people voted in the secret ballot following the meeting, which had a higher turnout than usual.

After the motion was passed, Fine Gael’s National Executive Council will have to consider if changes should be made to the general election ticket in Dun Laoghaire.

The motion is not binding and will ultimately have to be decided by the Fine Gael National Executive.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Party headquarters could now potentially replace Ms Bailey with councillor Jennifer Carrol McNeill, who represents Killiney-Shankill on Dun Laoghaire County Council.

Ms Bailey addressed the meeting and supporters were understood to have highlighted her electoral record – she received 10,000 votes at the last general election.

The meeting heard the party had taken a knock in the opinion polls following the controversy regarding Ms Bailey.

Members were also warned they would be reported to the party’s disciplinary committee for leaking stories about internal affairs to the media.

Court documents lodged as part of Ms Bailey’s case stated she could not run for three months after her fall but she ran a 10km race three weeks after the incident.

In a RTE radio interview in May, she said the swing had not been properly supervised at the time of her fall.

Ms Bailey has since withdrawn proceedings she filed against the Dean Hotel and was demoted by being removed as chairwoman of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

Ms Bailey, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and councillor Barry Ward were selected last year to contest the general election for Fine Gael in the four-seat constituency.

Speaking earlier on Thursday,  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and four other senior Fine Gael ministers said the candidacy of Ms Bailey as an election candidate is a matter for the local party organisation.

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