Thursday 27 June 2019

Swing fall: TD Maria Bailey could lose €9,500 top-up and prestigious housing role

Maria Bailey. Picture: Tom Burke
Maria Bailey. Picture: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey faces being temporarily expelled from the party or even losing a €9,500 salary top-up as a result of her compensation claim over a swing fall.

Senior party figures, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, are privately furious with the Dún Laoghaire TD for allowing the controversy run for six days before withdrawing the case.

Mr Varadkar has now admitted the case caused "reputational damage" at a time when the Government is under pressure over insurance costs for business.

And MEP Mairead McGuinness said it "did impact" on Fine Gael's campaign.

There is speculation among parliamentary party members that Ms Bailey could be forced to give up her chairmanship of the Oireachtas Housing Committee as punishment. The prestigious role comes with a €9,500 salary top-up.

It is understood Mr Varadkar is minded to refer the episode to Fine Gael's executive council which will convene an investigation.

Impact: Mairead McGuinness
Impact: Mairead McGuinness

It has the power to expel Ms Bailey from the party for a period of time.

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

Court documents described 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 significantly since".

However, the Irish Independent revealed on Saturday that she completed the 'The Bay 10k' in Dún Laoghaire three weeks after the incident.

Her father John, a councillor for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, did win re-election but his vote was down substantially.

Irish Independent

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