The Irish Times view on Maria Bailey: a question of judgment

The Dublin TD’s refusal to take ownership of her own actions, behaving as if she had no agency in proceedings taken in her name, is not good enough

The Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has reacted to Maria Bailey's interview with Sean O'Rourke on RTE saying that it would have been better if she met with the Taoiseach first. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

One of the most basic principles of our legal system is that any individual is entitled to take a case to the courts and to have it decided on by an independent judge. Nobody disputes that Maria Bailey enjoys that right as much as anyone else.

Yet the circumstances in which the Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown initiated legal action against a Dublin hotel after she fell off a swing – and her subsequent response to that claim being legitimately put into the public domain – raise questions about her judgment.

Bailey’s legal action – now withdrawn – embarrassed Fine Gael in the final week of the election campaign

Bailey says she suffered serious injuries after falling off a swing on a night out in July 2015. According to reports, the factual accuracy of which Bailey has not challenged, she alleged negligence or breach of duty by the hotel on 18 grounds, including that the swing was “unsupervised” and that there were no signs to instruct people how to use it. Bailey said in her statement of claim she could not run for three months after the incident, according to the same reports, but her social media posts show that she ran a 10km race a month later. At a time when so many businesses are struggling with soaring insurance premiums partly linked to a compensation culture her own government is committed to tackling, Bailey’s legal action – now withdrawn – embarrassed Fine Gael in the final week of the election campaign.

Dún Laoghaire TD Maria Bailey has taken a personal injury case against the Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing in the premises.
Dún Laoghaire TD Maria Bailey took a personal injury case against the Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing in the premises.

In an ill-judged, defensive interview on RTÉ Radio on Monday, Bailey bemoaned a media “witch-hunt” – one that consisted of faithful reporting on legal papers issued in her name – and refused to answer key questions about her action. Why was the hotel responsible for her injuries? That was “for a judge to adjudicate”, she said, before falling back on the familiar, specious argument that legal cases cannot be talked about. Bailey’s refusal to take ownership of her own actions, behaving as if she had no agency in proceedings taken in her name, is not good enough.

For Fine Gael, it comes with a silver lining of sorts. The more the focus remains on Maria Bailey, the less senior party figures have to answer for the party’s poor showing at the ballot box.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.