Political news

'Swing-gate' row TD Maria Bailey rules out standing in general election

Maria Bailey TD took a claim against the Dean Hotel after she fell from a swing in the hotel's rooftop cocktail bar
Aoife Moore, PA

Former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey has confirmed she will not be standing in the election.

The former Dun Laoghaire representative confirmed in a letter she published on social media today that "with great sadness", she would not run again.

Ms Bailey was at the centre of a scandal last year when it emerged she had taken legal action against Dublin's Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing in its cocktail bar.

The action, which was initiated in 2015 - before she was elected a TD for Fine Gael in Dun Laoghaire - claimed she suffered painful injuries which left her unable to run properly.

When the case first emerged, Ms Bailey faced heavy criticism as her own party were said to be cracking down on the insurance industry in a bid to tackle high premiums Irish businesses were suffering due to alleged fraudulent claims.

It was also found Ms Bailey had run 10km weeks after the incident, despite her claim she had been left severely injured.

An internal review was ordered by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to investigate the circumstances of the claim, conducted by David Kennedy SC, amid further reports that fellow TD and solicitor Joespha Madigan had given legal support to Ms Bailey.

She was removed from her position as chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, however the taoiseach did not remove the whip from Ms Bailey due to the "devastating effect this saga has had" on her and her family.

Ms Bailey was later removed from the party election ticket after being deselected based on a motion by Fine Gael members in her constituency asking for an urgent review of the area's possible general election candidates.

There had been speculation Ms Bailey would run as an independent candidate.

On Fine Gael branded paperwork, Ms Bailey said that after 16 years as a representative, she would not contest the election.

"This is a role I have been truly passionate, proud and humbled by," she wrote.

"Both myself and my late father John Bailey enjoyed working for the people of Dun Laoghaire and it was a privilege to be their voice and their representative.

"The past number of months have been difficult for me both publicly and privately and there are a number of people I would like to thank for their kindness and support."

Ms Bailey went on to thank her office staff, whom she says never wavered in their support, the staff of the Oireachtas and the county council, and her colleagues "of all parties for their unfailing courtesy throughout", her constituents and her family.

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Political news