Monday 24 June 2019

'Likeable' TD showed 'very poor judgment' and should reconsider taking case - Burton

Harrowing tales: Joan Burton said TDs were being told businesses were under threat due to high insurance costs. Picture: Frank McGrath
Harrowing tales: Joan Burton said TDs were being told businesses were under threat due to high insurance costs. Picture: Frank McGrath

Cormac McQuinn and Olivia Kelleher

Maria Bailey showed "very poor judgment" and should reconsider her personal injury legal action against a Dublin hotel, Labour TD Joan Burton has claimed.

The former Tánaiste weighed in on the controversy as business lobby group the ISME hit out at ministers who defended Ms Bailey's right to take the case.

Despite the growing storm over the action, the Fine Gael TD has stayed silent on her decision to sue the Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing.

She is seeking damages of up to €60,000 for alleged injuries she suffered in 2015. The hotel is denying liability.

Ms Burton said TDs are being told "harrowing tales" about the threat to businesses like hotels and play centres because insurance premiums have "rocketed" due to compensation claims.

Ms Burton said Ms Bailey is a "very likeable person", but has exercised "very poor judgment" and should "reconsider the situation". She added: "I think it's an error of judgement on her part," given the political focus on tackling rising insurance costs.

Meanwhile, ISME criticised ministers such as Regina Doherty and Michael D'Arcy who defended Ms Bailey's right to take the case, while insisting the Government is serious on insurance reform.

ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell said: "The fact someone enjoys a legal right to do something does not mean it is right or proper to do so."

He said this "applies especially to politicians" as it's important they set a "good example" amid the campaign to reform insurance costs.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted the Government was working to reduce insurance costs, while sidestepping questions on Ms Bailey's case.

He said the case "will be decided in court and I trust the judge will hear both sides and make the right decision".

Irish Independent

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