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Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
swing-gate

Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd says Maria Bailey should not stand for the party in the next election

The Louth TD said people were concerned about Bailey’s abandoned case against the Dean Hotel.

FINE GAEL TD Fergus O’Dowd has said that Maria Bailey should not stand for the party in the next general election.

Speaking to LMFM this morning, O’Dowd said the reality for the Dun Laoghaire TD was that people were “deeply concerned” that her abandoned case against the Dean Hotel was wrong.

Bailey withdrew legal proceedings she had filed against the hotel after claiming she had been injured when she fell from a swing at the premises.

Court documents lodged as part of the case stated that she could not run for three months after the fall but the TD ran a 10km race three weeks after the incident.

An internal party review led to her removal as head of the Oireachtas Housing Committee last week, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Bailey made “numerous errors of judgement” in her handling of the case.

The sanction came after an internal party review carried out by David Kennedy SC which has found that she “overstated” the impact of injuries she suffered.

However, O’Dowd is the first Fine Gael TD to publicly say that she should step aside.

“I think there are indications, certainly in the press, that her own party in Dun Laoghaire are saying that she shouldn’t stand and they want her removed,” he said.

“Would I prefer that she didn’t stand? I would prefer if she didn’t, yes I would of course. But… I can’t influence that.

“But having said that, the badge that she wears is not one that I’m happy with.”

His comments are the strongest remarks made by one of Bailey’s colleagues since controversy arose over her withdrawn claim.

Other party members and voters have questioned Bailey’s decision to take the case and her subsequent backlash against the media for reporting on it, particularly as the controversy surrounding it occurred in the lead up to the local and European elections.

The case has also led to greater calls for transparency around the role of Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan, whose solicitor’s firm advised Bailey during the case.

Last week, Bailey said that she regretted taking the case and claimed she “made no attempt to mislead” anyone by taking it in the first place.

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