Thursday 20 June 2019

'I haven't had the chance to talk to her about it yet' - Taoiseach to speak with Maria Bailey about dropped swing compensation claim

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers questions from the media at the local election count at City West.
Photo: Tony Gavin 25/5/2019
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers questions from the media at the local election count at City West. Photo: Tony Gavin 25/5/2019
Maria Bailey. Picture: Tom Burke

Conor Feehan and Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he will talk to Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey next week about her fall from swing compensation claim against the Dean Hotel, which she has now dropped.

Ms Bailey confirmed in an interview with the Sunday Independent that she has dropped the case.

The Dun Laoghaire TD's move comes after a week when the controversy overshadowed her party's local and European election campaigns.

Speaking at the count centre in Citywest, Mr Varadkar said that the matter was a private one for Bailey over an incident that occured "before she was even elected to the Dail".

Asked if any action would be taken after statements in the papers Ms Bailey had lodged appeared to be inaccurate, the Taoiseach said "I haven't had a chance to talk to her about it yet but I'm sure I will next week."

Junior minister John Paul Phelan, Fine Gael's director of elections for the local elections said "what Maria does is her own business" when asked about his response to her dropping the case.

It was put to him that the case annoyed a lot of people and he was asked about its impact on Fine Gael's election campaign.

"I don't think it had an effect one way of another on the election.

"This was the first local election in 15 years that was actually a local election. The one big national issue is reflected in the results and that's climate."

Asked if he welcomed the dropping of the case he said: "Look what Maria does is her own business. Any court case like that – I don't really want to get into the minutae of it.

"Obviously after the election from a Fine Gael perspective we'll be taking about everything that had an impact but I don't think, certainly knocking on doors in the last week that wasn't an issue that was coming up.

"Climate was the big issue throughout the campaign."

He also said that for his party the election looks set to be "a mixed result overall but it is the second time in 40 years it looks like that a party of government will come out with more seats than it went in with."

He also said the party's vote in the European elections is up 9pc.

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