Taoiseach plays down concerns over meeting to deselect Maria Bailey
Leo Varadkar says it was up to Dun Laoghaire TD whether or not she takes legal challenge
‘I don’t think there will be any confusion over it - the decision on who are Fine Gael’s candidates for election is made in the first instance by party members locally and then signed off by the executive council,”icture Colin Keegan, Collins Dubli”. Taoiseach Leo Vardkar said. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has moved to play down concerns expressed by a Fine Gael activist about the process which resulted in the deselection of sitting TD Maria Bailey as candidates for Dun Laoghaire.
Mr Varadkar said he was happy the meeting, held by Fine Gael activists in Dun Laoghaire was properly convened.
That meeting voted to ask the party’s ruling executive council to review the general election ticket, resulting in this week’s decision to deselect Ms Bailey. It followed the controversy and 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.
“I am confident that the meeting was conducted properly. I’ve met with the general secretary (Tom Curran) and the staff who were present and they are confident that everything was done in accordance with their rules,” he said.
Mr Varadkar was commenting after long serving Fine Gael activist, Ann Strain questioned whether the meeting, which was held on October 31st and which deselected Ms Bailey, was properly convened.
“To me, that wasn’t a fair meeting at all,” said Ms Strain, adding that she was not a supporter of Ms Bailey but she was aware of other people having concerns about people not being notified of the meeting.
But Mr Varadkar was adamant that the decision of the meeting, which selected sitting TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor and first time candidates Barry Ward and Jennifer Carroll McNeill, would not be overturned by the party.
“I don’t think there will be any confusion over it - the decision on who are Fine Gael’s candidates for election is made in the first instance by party members locally and then signed off by the executive council,” he said.
“And the executive council has put in place a very strong ticket of three candidates- Mary Mitchell O Connor, Barry Ward and Jennifer Carroll McNeill, ” he said during a canvass in Cork North Central with Senator Colm Burke.
Asked if he thought that Ms Bailey might go down the legal route and challenge the decision of the Dun Laoghaire Fine Gael organisation to deselect her, Mr Varadkar said that was a matter entirely for Ms Baile
“We live in a democracy and under our constitution, people have the right to go to court if they feel their rights have to be vindicated but I don’t have any concerns that there will be any further changes to our ticket,” he said.