Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rock and Naughton to replace Bailey as committee chairs after swing controversy

Replacing: Maria Bailey’s fall from grace after the swing-gate scandal is set to mean a promotion for Hildegarde Naughton
Replacing: Maria Bailey’s fall from grace after the swing-gate scandal is set to mean a promotion for Hildegarde Naughton
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael TDs Noel Rock and Hildegarde Naughton are to receive promotions on foot of swing-gate TD Maria Bailey's fall from grace.

The Irish Independent understands the two backbench TDs are in line to replace Ms Bailey on two Oireachtas committees. The nomination of Mr Rock as chairperson of the Housing Committee will be seen as significant, given he was the first TD to publicly condemn Ms Bailey's legal action against a Dublin hotel.

She had sought compensation after falling from a swing in The Dean Hotel, but later dropped the case amid intense pressure. The Irish Independent revealed she ran a 10km race just three weeks after the incident even though it was claimed in court papers she was unable to run "at all" for three months.

At the time Mr Rock, a TD for Dublin North West, said: "The issue of the claimed inconsistencies needs to be clarified urgently: that type of thing isn't compatible with Fine Gael values."

Mr Varadkar subsequently hired a barrister to investigate the case and demoted Ms Bailey as chair of the Housing Committee. This meant she lost a €9,500 top-up to her salary. The Dún Laoghaire TD then resigned as chair of two more Oireachtas committees, including one focussed specifically on ethical rules.

Giving Ms Naughton the role as chairperson of the committee of chairs will be seen as a boost for her credentials. She is already chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

Irish Independent

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