Josepha Madigan has 'questions to answer' over role in Maria Bailey swing-fall case, says Green Party leader Eamon Ryan
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has “questions to answer” over her role in the Maria Bailey swing fall-case, according to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
Mr Ryan said Ms Madigan’s role in her Fine Gael colleague's now-withdrawn legal case against The Dean hotel for falling off a swing four years ago required further explanation.
However, Communications Minister Richard Bruton has defended his cabinet colleague, insisting the matter had now been dealt with following Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s decision to remove Ms Bailey as chairwoman of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.
Ms Madigan’s role in the controversy is now under fresh scrutiny. Mr Varadkar said she had no questions to answer and a Fine Gael investigation cleared Ms Madigan - but it also confirmed she had given legal advice during the initial stages of the case.
She also processed Ms Bailey’s application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), which was unsuccessful when The Dean wouldn't agree to the board handling the case.
“I think she has questions to answer. Communities can’t do anything now because they can’t get insurance," Mr Ryan told reporters at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.
"Part of the problem is the legal industry. They have to look at themselves and say ‘Are we benefiting from this and keeping the whole thing going?’. I think it’s not just that case itself raised certain issues around the evidence. It is the advice that is given,” he added.
“It’s interesting that any time I previously asked we were told ‘Oh no, Minister Madigan wasn’t anywhere near this, she never gave any advice’. Now we find out that she did actually. She gave the first key piece of advice which was ‘Yes, you’ve a case, go for it’. I think that’s a real question of her judgement.
However, speaking to reporters at the same event, Mr Bruton defended Ms Madigan and said the Taoiseach had dealt with both the minister and Ms Bailey.
“I think Leo Varadkar has issued a very comprehensive statement following an investigation that he had carried out. I think he has dealt with Josepha Madigan’s role in this. It’s there clearly stated," he said.
“He recognises that she doesn’t have further questions to answer. He recognises that our colleague Maria Bailey made mistakes and there are consequences for those mistakes. I’ve nothing to add to that.
“I haven’t read the report so I haven’t been privy to the evidence involved. But this is an issue of internal discipline within Fine Gael.
"We have investigated. The Taoiseach has taken the approach steps and penalised the individual involved. I think we are now moving on. That issue has been deal with in the way that is proper, in my view," he added.