Tuesday 22 October 2019

Pressure mounting on Fine Gael to drop its probe into Bailey 'leak'


Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Pressure is mounting on Fine Gael to drop its probe into the alleged leak of documentation relating to Maria Bailey's compensation claim.

A barrister hired by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wants to find out how information about her fall from a swing at the Dean Hotel found its way into the media.

But the inquiry has been criticised by the National Union of Journalists, and now Fianna Fáil has called for it to be dropped altogether.

Opposition spokesman on communications Timmy Dooley said it "actually beggars belief" that a party of government would seek to undermine media reporting in the public interest.

"I think defies logic for a political party to expect any media organisation to breach the journalistic privilege," Mr Dooley said.

He said it would be "more in Fine Gael's line to establish what role, if any, Minister Josepha Madigan played in advising her colleague".

A firm of solicitors owned by the minister's brother was representing Ms Bailey. Ms Madigan worked with the firm at the time of the incident, but left in June 2017.

Fine Gael has declined to comment on a request from senior counsel David Kennedy for the Irish Independent to reveal sources.

In correspondence to this newspaper, Mr Kennedy wrote: "I wonder can you tell me how you heard about the case, and obtained a copy of the pleadings?"

The Irish Independent will not be co-operating with the internal Fine Gael probe.

Ms Bailey has alleged information was leaked to cause "maximum damage" in a "pre-planned" stunt.

Fine Gael is facing political calls for the internal inquiry to refocus on the legitimacy of Ms Bailey's claim.

Mr Dooley added: "They may have had some defence of not being aware of what the barrister was doing, but this has now been in the public domain for a number of days.

"The Taoiseach has failed to address the matter immediately, which clearly shows his acceptance of this behaviour."

Irish Independent

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