Monday 27 January 2020

Sinn Fein MP wants payout over fall in Leinster House

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

SINN Fein's pre-Budget launch has been overshadowed by the revelation that one of its members is seeking damages for falling down the stairs in Leinster House.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew (42) is seeking damages from the Leinster House authorities for physical and psychological harm for falling on the stairs and suffering a broken leg.

She had been visiting for a meeting of the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement committee earlier this year. Her claim has been referred to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, where the maximum she can be awarded for a lower limb leg injury is €87,300.

It comes ahead of Sinn Fein's launch of its pre-Budget strategy today, where the party is expected to call for cuts to the salaries and expenses of TDs.

At the time of the incident last January, Ms Gildernew said she fell down a set of stairs in Leinster House while wearing knee-high boots.

"I got my heel caught in a metal grate and tripped and fell all the way down the stairs in a very undignified manner. I was absolutely mortified," she said.

Ms Gildernew told Fermanagh's 'Impartial Reporter' newspaper that she had driven home from Dublin but found her leg bruised. She went to hospital and had her leg X-rayed and strapped.

After going home on crutches, she said she was called back later that week to be told that her leg was broken and she then had a plaster put on.

Ms Gildernew, who is an MP for the Fermanagh-South Tyrone constituency, attracted attention recently for supporting bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn.

She said he had been treated disgracefully by the Government – although Sinn Fein later distanced itself from her remarks. She recently revealed that she had been fighting a 20-year battle with depression.

Sinn Fein has said that Ms Gildernew is on sick leave and that the case Ms Gildernew is taking is a private matter between her and the authorities in Leinster House.

Irish Independent

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