Sunday 18 August 2019

Maria Bailey initially asked hotel for €20,000 to cover her swing fall expenses claim

Fine Gael TD later said she wanted just €7,000 from Dean Hotel to cover medical costs after fall

Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey wrote to the Dean Hotel seeking €20,000 in compensation after falling from a swing on its premises, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Ms Bailey publicly said she sought €7,000 from the hotel to cover medical costs incurred from her fall in 2015.

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However, it has now emerged Ms Bailey wrote to the hotel seeking €20,000 in compensation after she fell from a swing while holding a bottle of beer and reaching for a bottle of wine.

It is understood Ms Bailey's letter formed part of the evidence examined by barrister David Kennedy who reviewed all details of the case for Fine Gael.

The letter was sent by Ms Bailey after she received a €600 cheque from the hotel to the cover medical costs she incurred arising from the fall.

The Dun Laoghaire TD, who was last week sacked as chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, returned the cheque and requested €20,000 to cover past and future medical expenses.

The Dean Hotel decided to challenge Ms Bailey's compensation claim on foot of receiving this letter and handed the case over to their solicitors.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent in May, Ms Bailey said: "All I was looking for was my medical expenses, which were about €7,000. I was not looking for compensation or loss of earnings, I never said I didn't have the use of my legs - my medical advice was to keep moving," she added.

Separately, while speaking on RTE Radio One, she said: "There are legitimate expenses that are verified, you're only talking €6,000 to €7,000 here. I've absorbed those costs already."

In a statement released last week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "There have been inconsistencies in Deputy Bailey's account of events to me and the media that I cannot reconcile."

The Sunday Independent has confirmed Ms Bailey's public comments on how much compensation she was seeking were among the inconsistencies to which the Taoiseach was referring in his statement.

It is understood Ms Bailey told the Fine Gael inquiry and the Taoiseach that the €7,000 she was referring to was for past medical expenses and the letter she sent to the hotel included a further €13,000 for future medical costs.

Mr Varadkar was also understood to be concerned by Ms Bailey's public claim that she was told by Madigan Solicitors that she had a "clear cut" case.

In his statement, Mr Varadkar said the Fine Gael internal review found she was told she had a "statable case" which means that the facts related by Ms Bailey were potentially grounds for legal action but not that the case was clear cut.

"There were concerns that a finding of contributory negligence against her was likely and this was communicated to her on several occasions," the Taoiseach said.

Mr Varadkar also said he could not release the internal review of Ms Bailey's case as those who cooperated with Mr Kennedy's investigation did so on the basis of confidentiality.

He also said he did not remove the Fine Gael party whip from Ms Bailey because she endured "considerable negative publicity" and "public criticism".

Ms Bailey did not respond to several requests for comment. The Dean Hotel also said it would not be commenting further on the case.

Sunday Independent

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