Maria Bailey faces call for clarification over swing claim case

Reports that Fine Gael TD is dropping case against Dublin hotel

Fine Gael Maria Bailey. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fine Gael Maria Bailey. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has called for the clarification of issues around Maria Bailey’s civil case taken against a Dublin hotel.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Rock said that he “welcomes the withdrawal of this claim” after reports that the Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire TD had dropped the case.

“The issue of the claimed inconsistencies needs to be clarified urgently: that type of thing isn’t compatible with Fine Gael values,” he said.

Ms Bailey was taking a personal injuries case in the Circuit Court against the Dean Hotel of Harcourt Street, Dublin. She was claiming damages of up to €60,000 over injuries she alleges she suffered to her head, back and hip after falling off a swing in the premises on a night out in 2015. The hotel lodged a full defence of the claim and alleged Ms Bailey (43) had items in both her hands when she sat on the swing.

“Many of my constituents are struggling with insurance costs, and these type of claims don’t help people struggling with insurance costs,” he said.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the decision of Ms Bailey to withdraw her personal injury case is “is in the first instance a private matter for her”.

Asked about the decision when he arrived at the Citywest Count Centre, Mr Varadkar said “It’s an incident that occurred before she was even elected to the Dáil and isn’t something that the party has been involved in. But I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet, but I’m sure I will next week.”

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said that members who deal with the public in the course of business “literally feel besieged by claimants”.

“If any good can come out of this case it would be a realisation that it’s never that clear cut, and sometimes people have to accept liability for their own actions,” he said.

Efforts to contact Ms Bailey were unsuccessful.

Her decision to withdraw the case comes after a week of intense political pressure on the TD, whose case was briefly heard before the County Registrar in Dublin on Monday. She was criticised heavily over the case by the opposition. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the lawsuit “flies in the face of everything being done to keep insurance costs down”.

In the Seanad, Senator Michael McDowell said that “if the Government is serious about driving down the claims culture, we cannot stand idly by when adults with two objects, one in each hand, lose their seat and fall off a swing and then claim that there should have been a supervisor looking after them.”