Monday 19 August 2019

Josepha Madigan 'is cleared of wrongdoing' in probe over Maria Bailey swing fall case

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

A Fine Gael probe has cleared Culture Minister Josepha Madigan of any wrongdoing in relation to TD Maria Bailey's claim against a Dublin hotel for injuries she suffered falling from a swing.

The Irish Independent can reveal that Ms Madigan processed an application by her party colleague Ms Bailey to the statutory body that deals with personal injury claims.

Details of Ms Madigan's involvement in Ms Bailey's case against the Dean Hotel have emerged from the inquiry carried out by senior counsel David Kennedy.

A Fine Gael source with knowledge of its findings said Ms Madigan processed Ms Bailey's application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). The source insisted her involvement in Ms Bailey's case was "minimal".

"She [Ms Madigan] purely processed the PIAB application, before legal proceedings, which means there is a form completed and it is submitted," the source said.

The PIAB's website states the majority of respondents agree to an assessment of an applicant's claim to the board.

However, in Ms Bailey's case, the Dean Hotel did not agree to the PIAB assessment. This led to the subsequent, but now withdrawn, court proceedings.

A source close to the case said: "The hotel did not accept it was liable or that there was any negligence on its part.

Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"The hotel really wanted to fight it from the start because they didn't feel they were liable."

Ms Madigan's former firm, Madigans Solicitors, which the minister left in 2017, represented Ms Bailey in her now withdrawn legal claim.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed Ms Madigan has no questions to answer in relation to the matter following an investigation by Mr Kennedy.

Ms Madigan's spokesman said: "The minister, as she commented last week, has read and is very satisfied with the contents of the report.

"As has been the case all along, we won't be commenting on a matter of client-solicitor confidentiality. We're happy with the comments the Taoiseach has made to clear up the matter."

Ms Madigan said last week she was "bound by solicitor-­client confidentiality", but that she had read the report in full and was "very pleased with its findings insofar as it relates to me".

Mr Varadkar will speak to Ms Bailey about what sanction she may face next week. Ms Bailey's father, Fine Gael councillor John Bailey, passed away and was laid to rest last week.

The 'Sunday Independent' reported earlier this month that Mr Kennedy found Ms Bailey's legal claim overstated the impact of injuries she suffered as a result of the swing fall.

Irish Independent

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