Maria Bailey set to lose FG whip over swing compensation claim
Fine Gael to take action against TD following investigation into personal injuries case
Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey is set to lose the party whip. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Fine Gael is set to remove the party whip in the Dáil from Dún Laoghaire TD Maria Bailey over her controversial personal injuries claim against a Dublin hotel.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is expected to announce next week what action will be taken against Ms Bailey on foot of an internal party report into her claim against The Dean hotel on Dublin’s Harcourt Street for falling off a swing.
Party sources had previously said there were three options open to Mr Varadkar if he wanted to sanction Ms Bailey: replace her as chair of the Oireachtas housing committee, remove the party whip from her or deselect her as a general election candidate in Dún Laoghaire.
A number of party sources now say Mr Varadkar is likely to opt for the first two options. However some party sources said a final decision had yet to be made. It is not known for how long the whip would be removed from Ms Bailey. A Fine Gael spokesman declined to comment. Ms Bailey did not return calls or messages.
The moves will be a tougher line than many in the Fine Gael parliamentary party had been expecting, with most TDs believing Ms Bailey would be asked to stand aside as chair of the housing committee, although some, such as Dublin North West’s Noel Rock, thought her actions were incompatible “with Fine Gael values”.
Fine Gael appointed a barrister, David Kennedy SC, to “establish all the facts” in relation to Ms Bailey’s now withdrawn action against The Dean hotel, where she alleged she suffered injuries after falling from a swing in the hotel bar in July 2015.
Mr Kennedy’s investigation is understood to have found her claim overstated the impact of the injuries she suffered as a result of falling from a swing. Mr Varadkar has said Mr Kennedy’s report will not be published.
Ms Bailey has already been chosen as a Fine Gael candidate at the next general election.
Fine Gael this week made some changes to general election tickets, such as deselecting Senator Ray Butler from the Meath West ticket. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who is the Fine Gael director of organisation for the next general election, told his ministerial colleagues that further difficult decisions on election tickets will be made in the autumn. However, it is seen as likely that Ms Bailey would retake the party whip before the next election.