Monday 17 June 2019

Swing case TD Maria Bailey drops compensation claim against hotel

  • Had taken legal action against the Dean in Dublin following fall
  • 'The past week has been very difficult for my family'
Fine Gael's Maria Bailey. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Fine Gael's Maria Bailey. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Liam Collins and Kevin Doyle

FINE GAEL TD Maria Bailey is withdrawing her compensation claim against a Dublin hotel over a fall from a swing, can reveal.

The Dun Laoghaire TD’s move comes after a week when the controversy overshadowed her party’s local and European election campaigns.

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She lodged a personal injuries claim on the basis that she suffered injuries to her head, lower back and hip after falling backward off the swing in the well-known Dean hotel.

It is claimed Ms Bailey can no longer sit or stand for long period without experiencing pain and discomfort as a result of the incident in July 2015.

Ms Bailey now says: "I had nothing to hide. I had an accident, I was hurt and I had medical bills as a result of the accident.”

She has decided to withdraw the case because "the past week has been very difficult for my family" and is a distraction from her political work.

Busy: Bailey at Longitude
Busy: Bailey at Longitude
Busy: Bailey running The Bay 10k

In an interview in the Sunday Independent, the politician says she now wants to "draw a line in the sand" on the issue and concentrate on representing her constituency in the Dail.

"As far as I am concerned this matter is now closed," she said.

The climbdown comes after revealed that the Fine Gael backbencher took part in a 10km race three weeks after the fall.

Court papers lodged as part of the case describe her as a “keen runner prior to the accident but could not run at all for three months post-accident and has had to reduce her activities significant since”.

However, she completed the ‘The Bay 10k’ in Dún Laoghaire in a time of 53 minutes and 56 seconds.

Social media posts also show that eight days after the incident she attended the Longitude music festival.

Fine Gael’s top brass are furious with Ms Bailey over how the controversy has played.

She has been widely criticised by political opponents for taking the case at a time when the Government is promising to reform the personal injuries system.

Senior party figures believe the controversy has impacted on performance in the elections.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan also got dragged into the controversy because Ms Bailey was represented by her family’s law firm Madigan Solicitors. The Minister left the firm in 2017.

It has also emerged that the dates recorded in Ms Bailey’s court submission are inaccurate.

The papers indicate Ms Bailey was in the hotel with friends around 9pm on Monday, July 13, 2015.

Sources close to the TD say the incident actually took place on the previous Friday evening.

The following morning she woke up with severe back pain at 6.30am which prevented her from getting out of bed.

A doctor was called but was not able to attend and 45 minutes later Ms Bailey did "extricate herself" from bed with the assistance of her mother and medication.

The papers say she was "then taken to the A&E Department of the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford".

Speaking at the Citywest count centre this evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will talk to TD Maria Bailey about her fall from a swing compensation claim against the Dean hotel which she has now dropped.

The Dun Laoghaire TD's move comes after a week when the controversy overshadowed her party's local and European election campaigns.

Mr Varadkar said that the matter was a private one for Bailey over an incident that occured "before she was even elected to the Dail".

Asked if any action would be taken after statements in the papers Ms Bailey had lodged appeared to be inaccurate, the Taoiseach said "I haven't had a chance to talk to her about it yet but I'm sure I will next week."

Read the full interview with Maria Bailey in the Sunday Independent

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