Saturday 17 August 2019

Madigan stonewalls amid growing calls for report to be published


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Cormac McQuinn and Hugh O'Connell

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan is stonewalling in the face of mounting pressure to answer questions on her involvement in the Maria Bailey personal injury claim.

There have been Opposition demands for the Fine Gael probe of Ms Bailey's legal action to be published amid outstanding questions over the nature of advice Ms Madigan provided her party colleague.

Ms Madigan is embroiled in the controversy because her family's law firm, Madigans Solicitors, represented Ms Bailey in the now dropped personal injury action against the Dean Hotel.

Ms Madigan left Madigans Solicitors in 2017.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar asked barrister David Kennedy to establish "all the facts" surrounding Ms Bailey's legal action.

Mr Varadkar took the decision not to publish Mr Kennedy's report as individuals co-operated on the basis of confidentiality and it would be wrong to breach this.

The Culture Minister has refused to answer a series of questions sent to her office by the Irish Independent, including one asking her to outline the nature of the legal advice she gave to Ms Bailey. A spokesman responded, saying: "We won't be adding anything to the Fine Gael statement [on Mr Kennedy's report]."

She has previously declined to comment on her involvement in the claim, citing client-solicitor confidentiality.

Earlier this month Ms Madigan said she had read Mr Kennedy's report and told Newstalk Radio: "I am very satisfied with what it says pertaining to me."

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin last night said: "Now that the investigation has reported there is no reason why the full facts should not be published by Fine Gael.

"The involvement of Minister Josepha Madigan needs to be fully explained so that these matters can finally be put to bed."

Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O'Brien also called for the report to be published.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan believes Ms Madigan has questions to answer as she gave the "first key piece of advice".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar moved to defend his embattled minister over her involvement in the saga.

He said that Ms Bailey had been advised about contributory negligence. He said "solicitors only act on their client's instructions".

Irish Independent

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