Maria Bailey announces she will not stand for re-election

Deputy dropped from FG ticket following controversy over swing fall injury claim

Former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey has said she will not be standing for re-election in the Dún Laoghaire constituency as an Independent.

Ms Bailey was deselected by Fine Gael last year after major controversy over her decision to take a personal injuries claim against the Dean Hotel, where she fell from a swing.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ms Bailey said she was ending her time as a public representative “with great sadness”. She spent 12 years as a local councillor and four as a TD.

She said the “past number of months have been extremely difficult for me both privately and politically and there are a number of people I would like to thank for their kindness and support.”

She said her office team had "never wavered" and also praised the "staff of the Oireachtas, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and many elected colleagues of all parties for their unfailing courtesy throughout."

She concluded: “My constituents who gave me the honour of representing them and becoming the 100th woman elected to Dáil Éireann in 2016.

“Finally I acknowledge and thank my own family and friends for their loyalty and support throughout my political career.”

Ms Bailey was widely criticised for contributing to Ireland’s compensation culture following her personal injuries claim. It later emerged that Ms Bailey took the case claiming that the swing was unsupervised, but the hotel maintained that she had two drinks in her hand at the time.

She ran a 10k just three weeks after the incident despite claiming in her court affidavit that she could not run “at all” for three months after the fall.

Dún Laoghaire Fine Gael members voted at a meeting on Halloween night for a motion asking the party hierarchy to urgently review the constituency’s general election ticket.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar removed her from the Dún Laoghaire ticket a month later.

He had previously removed her from the position of chair of the Oireachtas housing committee.

Cllr Jennifer Carroll MacNeill was added to the Fine Gael ticket after Ms Bailey was deselected.

She is standing in the constituency with outgoing Fine Gael TD and minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and the party’s councillor Barry Ward.

Speaking in Tipperary on Wednesday, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he wished Ms Bailey well.

“I think that’s the right decision,” he said, “the last number of months have taken an extraordinary toll on Maria and her family.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times