Wednesday 26 June 2019

'It did impact' - Mairead McGuinness glad FG colleague Bailey dropped personal injury claim

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with MEP Mairead McGuinness and junior minister Helen McEntee. Picture at a canvass in Kells earlier this month. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with MEP Mairead McGuinness and junior minister Helen McEntee. Picture at a canvass in Kells earlier this month. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

MAIREAD McGuinness has said her party colleague Maria Bailey's personal injury claim impacted on Fine Gael's election campaign and she's glad she dropped it.

Outgoing MEP Ms McGuinness is on course to top the poll and retain her European Parliament seat in the Midlands-North-West constituency.

She said she "took nothing for granted" on the likely result that is not likely to be announced until tomorrow at the earliest.

She said she is relieved but it's "a bit surreal as well until you hear it".

Ms Bailey has said she is dropping her legal action against the Dean Hotel in Dublin after she dell from a swing in 2015.

The hotel denied liability.

Defiant: Maria Bailey insists she has done nothing wrong and was entitled to take the same legal action as anyone else. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Defiant: Maria Bailey insists she has done nothing wrong and was entitled to take the same legal action as anyone else. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Asked if revelations about the case had inflicted damage on Fine Gael during the last week of the elections Ms McGuinness replied:

"It wasn’t said directly to me but I did get some emails about that. So it did impact".

She said she had a recent public meeting with businesses in Meath and insurance is a "major issue".

Ms McGuinness said: "I am glad she dropped the case. I know there were people who said that to me having listened to her decision. Look I’m sure it’s very tough for her as well but I’m glad the case is dropped."

She said she didn't think there would be repercussions for Ms Bailey from Fine Gael.

"I don’t think we’re going to do anything to Maria Bailey. I mean I think that in politics we all learn hard lessons on occasion."

But she did note the timing, pointing to the impact insurance costs are having on businesses and referencing Rathbeggan Lakes which she called: "a wonderful enterprise and they’re closing their doors because of the insurance issue."

Ms McGuinness said he has written to EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager asking her to extend her investigation into the insurance industry here beyond the motor sector "right across the board particularly into public liability".

She said businesses need to be able to get reasonable quotes from a a number of companies "rather than going to several agents who go to one company for a quote. I’m troubled that that might be the case at the moment."

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