Wednesday 21 August 2019

Maria Bailey made 'best decision for herself' and should run in next election, says MEP Walsh

Maria Walsh at the Castlebar count centre. Picture: Mark Condren
Maria Walsh at the Castlebar count centre. Picture: Mark Condren
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

FINE Gael MEP Maria Walsh has said Maria Bailey made "the best decision for herself" in her personal injury claim and that she should run in the next general election.

Ms Walsh's remarks come as Ms Bailey's political career hangs in the balance amid growing calls within Fine Gael for the under-fire TD to be dropped as a candidate in her Dun Laoghaire constituency following the swing-case controversy.

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd broke ranks yesterday to publicly call on Ms Bailey not to run for re-election saying: “I’d prefer if she didn’t stand”.

Former Rose of Tralee Ms Walsh was asked about Mr O'Dowd's remarks and said: "To be honest with you, that’s An Taoiseach’s call, as a party."

Under-fire Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Under-fire Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ms Walsh said that Ms Bailey has "worked unbelievably hard" and was "unbelievably giving to me when I chaired my first committee in Wexford at the Spring conference and I'll never take that away from her."

She added: "Do I think she did what was right? [in her personal injury claim]

"I think at the time, she probably made the best decision for herself."

Asked if she believed Ms Bailey should run in the next election Ms Walsh replied: "

“I think she should run again. I don’t know whether she will or not. I get a little bit more pro team-manship in the sense that, 'we'll follow by example, we'll lead with An Taoiseach.'"

“If he said ‘no’ to her, then that’s a conversation."

She said she thinks Mr Varadkar made the "right move" in removing Ms Bailey as chairperson of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

Read more here: Swing-gate: Maria Bailey facing growing calls from within Fine Gael not to run in next general election

But Ms Walsh also added: "Now I'm not privy to any of the back story so its really hard to say, 'that was right or that was wrong.'"

She said: "As a public representative, I probably would have done a very different avenue to her and even... in terms of press.

"I would have been very different in terms of reaction, I would have listened to those around me and really got good advice."

The Irish Independent previously reported that Fine Gael members in Ms Bailey’s constituency want her removed from the ticket.

Fine Gael’s election tickets are being reviewed by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and party sources have acknowledged that Ms Bailey’s candidacy could hang in the balance.

Any decision to remove her from the ticket would be taken by Fine Gael’s national executive.

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