Taoiseach and Tánaiste defend Maria Bailey after ‘no confidence’ bid

Motion backed by some activists in her Dún Laoghaire constituency was ruled out of order

 Ms Bailey, who  lost her position as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing in the controversy over a personal injuries claim against a Dublin hotel, is one of three Fine Gael candidates for Dún Laoghaire at the next election. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Ms Bailey, who lost her position as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing in the controversy over a personal injuries claim against a Dublin hotel, is one of three Fine Gael candidates for Dún Laoghaire at the next election. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney have both defended Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey after some local activists in her Dún Laoghaire constituency attempted to table a motion of no confidence in her.

Ms Bailey, who lost her position as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing in the controversy over a personal injuries claim against a Dublin hotel, is one of three Fine Gael candidates for Dún Laoghaire at the next election.

At a meeting on Thursday of the Blackrock district of the Dún Laoghaire constituency, Marie Baker - a party councillor who used to work as an assistant for Ms Bailey - attempted to table the motion of no confidence.

However, Councillor Barry Ward - who is on the Dún Laoghaire general election ticket with Ms Bailey and Minister of State for Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor - said the motion was not in order and should not go ahead.

It was then deemed out of order for Thursday night’s meeting, although it may be taken at a later date. Mr Coveney defended Ms Bailey and said she has “paid a very very heavy price for making a mistake”.

Ms Bailey supported Mr Coveney in the Fine Gael leadership contest against Leo Varadkar in 2017.

“Maria Bailey is somebody who has paid a very, very heavy price for making a mistake... and she continues to pay that price,” Mr Coveney said.

“She is a very hard working TD, she has been selected to represent Fine Gael in the next general election.

“The Maria Bailey I know is somebody who would desperately like to rewind the clock on some of the choices she made. She has paid an extraordinary price for a mistake and is dying to move on.”

Speaking in Brussels, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he has confidence in Ms Bailey. When asked if he would be happy to canvass with her in an election campaign, he said he would be happy to canvass with any Fine Gael who had been selected and ratified by the party.