Wednesday 19 June 2019

Dublin TD Maria Bailey who fell off swing wasn't holding on properly, hotel claims

Family affair: Maria Bailey’s father John is a councillor. Photo: Tom Burke
Family affair: Maria Bailey’s father John is a councillor. Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A Fine Gael TD was holding items in both her hands when she fell out of a swing, a hotel she is suing claims.

Maria Bailey (43) has sued the Dean Hotel in Dublin for damages of up to €60,000 over injuries she alleges she suffered to her head, back and hip.

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The swings on the 5th floor outside Sophie’s Bar in the Dean
The swings on the 5th floor outside Sophie’s Bar in the Dean

The Dún Laoghaire TD says she fell backwards out of an indoor swing while having her photo taken during a night out with friends in 2015.

In circuit court proceedings, she has accused the hotel of negligence, saying the swing was “unsupervised” and there were no signs telling patrons how to safely use it.

Ms Bailey claims she can no longer sit or stand for long periods without experiencing pain or discomfort. She also says she used to run 70km a week before the incident, but has had to reduce this to less than 20km.

The hotel is denying liability, saying that if any injury was suffered, this was due to Ms Bailey’s own negligence or contributory negligence.

Denies liability: The Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street, Dublin, where TD Maria Bailey fell off an indoor swing. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Denies liability: The Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street, Dublin, where TD Maria Bailey fell off an indoor swing. Photo: Fergal Phillips

In defence papers, the hotel alleges she failed to use the swing in a proper manner and held items in both hands, restricting her ability to balance and preventing her from holding rope grips properly.

The endorsement of claim filed in court by Ms Bailey's solicitors makes no mention of her holding anything in her hands when she fell. Details of the case have emerged at a time when there is a considerable political focus on personal injury awards and high insurance costs.

The Government is introducing legislation to allow judges to recalibrate guideline award levels.

Ms Bailey's case was briefly mentioned before the County Registrar at Dublin Circuit Civil Court yesterday.

Gráinne Berkery BL, for Holtend Limited, trading as the Dean Hotel, told the registrar that on consent Ms Bailey had six weeks to file an affidavit of discovery. It is understood this is to satisfy a request for medical and dental records for the three years prior to the alleged incident. Discovery is a routine part of such cases.

The court heard the hotel, which has lodged a full defence, was to get its costs for the motion.

Ms Bailey was not in court.

She is being represented by Madigans Solicitors, a law firm run by a brother of Culture Minister Josepha Madigan.

Ms Madigan, a solicitor, stepped away from the firm after becoming a TD.

In her action, lawyers for Ms Bailey, of Woodside Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, say she was at the trendy Harcourt Street hotel with a group of friends on July 13, 2015. They say that at around 9pm her party went to the top floor where there was "a three-swing unit" in the corridor close to a restaurant.

Her solicitors say she was sitting on a swing "unsupervised", having her photo taken by friends, "when she was caused to fall backwards".

They say she struck the ground, with her hip, lower back and head taking the brunt of the impact.

Ms Bailey's action lists 18 different particulars of alleged negligence or breach of duty by the hotel, including that it allowed the swing to be fitted in an unsafe and insecure manner and failed to employ a suitable person to supervise use of the swing by patrons.

Her solicitors say she woke up with a severe pain in her back the next morning which prevented her from getting out of bed. After she attended A&E, she was diagnosed with soft-tissue injuries and contusions and advised to attend physiotherapy.

Her solicitors say she was also diagnosed with concussion.

They say Ms Bailey was running for election as a TD and could not take time off to rest.

In the court filing, her solicitors say her orthodontist had to remove a pre-fitted permanent retainer as it was "out of alignment" after the incident.

In a defence filing, the hotel admits Ms Bailey sat on the swing unsupervised, but denies any negligence or breach of duty.

It says Ms Bailey failed to exercise a reasonable level of care, exposed herself to risk of injury and was reckless or careless about her own safety.

Irish Independent

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