Maria Bailey deselected as Fine Gael candidate for Dún Laoghaire

Swing injury case TD disappointed with Taoiseach’s decision to ‘sanction me again’

Maria Bailey has been in the spotlight following the negative publicity surrounding her decision to pursue, and later withdraw, a personal injuries claim over a fall from a swing in Dublin’s Dean Hotel. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Maria Bailey has been in the spotlight following the negative publicity surrounding her decision to pursue, and later withdraw, a personal injuries claim over a fall from a swing in Dublin’s Dean Hotel. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has deselected controversial TD Maria Bailey as a Fine Gael candidate for the next general election.

The Dún Laoghaire deputy will not be able to attempt to retain her seat as a party candidate in the constituency in next year’s election.

In a letter published on social media after a meeting of the Fine Gael executive council on Thursday night, Ms Bailey said she was “disappointed” with the decision.

“An Taoiseach has decided to sanction me again and I have been deleted as a candidate for the next general election in Dún Laoghaire,” the letter said.

She said she remains a “proud member” of the party, a comment that will be seen as an indication that she will not seek to run as an Independent TD, although she did not specifically spell this out in the letter.

Ms Bailey has been in the spotlight following the negative publicity that surrounded her decision to pursue, and later withdraw, a personal injuries claim over a fall from a swing in Dublin’s Dean Hotel.

Pressure

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, putting pressure on Mr Varadkar to strip Ms Bailey of the candidacy.

Mr Varadkar previously removed her from the position of chair of the Oireachtas housing committee.

“My personal injury claim which dates back to 2015 was prior to me becoming a TD: however, I was a Fine Gael councilor at the time,” Ms Bailey added.

“An Taoiseach conducted an internal review of my case and I was sanctioned in July. I have apologised for any difficulties I may have caused. An Taoiseach stated to me in an email in July that he considered the matter closed and wanted us all to move on.”

In a statement, Fine Gael said its executive council had, following a recommendation from Mr Varadkar, “removed” Ms Bailey from the Dún Laoghaire ticket.

“On recommendation from the Taoiseach, the executive council has added Councillor Jennifer Carroll MacNeill to the ticket,” it said.

“Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor along with councillors Barry Ward and Jennifer Carroll MacNeill will contest the Dún Laoghaire constituency for Fine Gael at the next General Election.”

Ms Bailey and her solicitor made statements to the the executive council before its members deliberated. Nobody asked questions of Ms Bailey and nobody disagreed with Mr Varadkar’s proposal, a source said.

“She was more about history...We weren’t discussing what got us here. We were discussing a political decision on the future of Dún Laoghaire,” the source added.

Ms Bailey said she was advised of the decision to deselect her on Wednesday when she attended a meeting with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and the Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran.

‘Serious issues’

She said she was told that her deselection was based on the motion passed by the Dún Laoghaire Fine Gael constituency and that she “raised serious issues regarding the procedure of that meeting”.

“This evening at 5pm I received a copy of a letter from An Taoiseach that my deselection was now being proposed,” she said in her statement.

“I had hoped to be able to move on and work hard to rebuild my reputation but at every turn there have been anonymous sources trying to reignite the story around me. I have not given another statement since July or commented since May in the interest of the party, except to say this is an internal party matter.

“I would like to thank the national executive for affording me, at my request, the opportunity to speak to them. I am a proud member of Fine Gael and I would also like to thank my fellow Fine Gael members for their support. I will continue to fulfill my role as a public representative.”