Maria Bailey and her swing case: questions that remain

What injuries did she suffer, and what legal advice did she receive and from whom?

Maria Bailey has declined to say in what way she believed the hotel to be negligent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Maria Bailey has declined to say in what way she believed the hotel to be negligent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Maria Bailey may have dropped her personal injury case against the Dean Hotel over a fall from an indoor swing in 2015, but questions about the incident and its aftermath remain.

Such as, what actually happened?
Maria Bailey says on the evening of the incident she had a glass of wine at a friend’s house in Sandyford, then took the Luas to the Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street. They bought drinks at the bar, then took a lift upstairs. Exiting, they saw the wooden swings in an area before the restaurant.

“Nobody was drunk, nobody was messing, they’re like polished wood, these seats. I sat on them. I did have a bottle of beer in my hand, and next thing I knew I was on the floor,” she told Seán O’Rourke in her interview on RTÉ Radio on Monday.

“I had my beer in my hand, and then I was reaching for my friend’s. I had a bottle of wine. She was taking her camera out of her jacket. I then found myself on the floor.”

Ms Bailey has not clarified whether she had something in both hands when she fell.

She says she “jumped up” as she was “mortified”. She had a few cuts and grazes and was given plasters by the hotel staff before going home.

And when did it happen?
The legal papers filed on behalf of Ms Bailey state that the incident occurred on July 13th, a Monday. However, she said this week this was wrong and it actually occurred on Friday, July 10th.

What injuries did she suffer?
Ms Bailey ended up in the Beacon Hospital’s emergency department the following morning. She was in “excruciating pain and scared – it was like a knife was coming out of my back,” she told the Sunday Independent last weekend. She was treated for concussion, a swollen jaw and soft-tissue injuries and underwent intensive physio.

On August 3rd, just over three weeks after the fall, she ran a 10km race in Dún Laoghaire.

Running “keeps me medicated” against cluster migraines, she said. “Like any athlete, I wanted to dip my toe into the water to see if I could do it.”

Her statement of claim in the case said she was not able to run for three months. Ms Bailey acknowledged this was wrong and indicated her intention – before she decided to drop the case – to have it changed.

She also attended the Longitude music festival in Marlay Park on July 18th. “I never said I locked myself away in a monastery,” she said this week. “Anybody with a back injury knows you can be fine for a while, you can sneeze or you can get out of bed the wrong way, and your back is sore. It is a constant management.”

What restitution was she seeking?
By taking her case in the Circuit Court, Ms Bailey was entitled to seek damages up to €60,000.

She has said she was not looking for damages, only for medical expenses of about €6,000-€7,000. She had private health insurance but says this doesn’t cover all her medical costs.

The hotel denied negligence but offered to pay medical expenses, but the two sides failed to agree. It has been reported the hotel offered to pay €600 for medical expenses but this was refused.

Legal proceedings were begun, Ms Bailey said, after “lengthy and unsatisfactory correspondence with the hotel, and because these injuries continue to cause me immense discomfort”.

While acknowledging errors in the statement of claim, Ms Bailey has said a plaintiff has “every right” to amend particulars prior to a court hearing.

A statement of claim sets out the nature, extent and grounds of the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant. It can be amended, whereas an affidavit is a sworn document that cannot be changed.

What advice did she receive, from whom?
Ms Bailey says she followed the legal advice she received. She was represented by solicitor firm Madigans, where Josepha Madigan, now Minister for Culture, practised until 2017.

She has declined to say whether she had any contact with Ms Madigan personally about the case.

She has also declined to say in what way she believed the hotel to be negligent.