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Taoiseach 'absolutely confident' proper procedures were followed to remove Maria Bailey as candidate

Bailey was deselected as the general election candidate for Dún Laoghaire last night.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

IT IS A very difficult time personally for TD Maria Bailey who was deselected as the general election candidate for Dún Laoghaire, the Taoiseach has said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Fine Gael Executive Council yesterday evening following a recommendation from Leo Varadkar, who is party president.

Bailey said she was disappointed, adding she will take time to reflect.

In her statement on Thursday night, Bailey indicated that she had issues in relation to how the constituency meeting was conducted.

Varadkar said he is “absolutely confident” that Fine Gael followed the correct procedures to remove Bailey as a candidate.

Speaking at the British-Irish Council event in Dublin today, Varadkar said: “it is never a nice thing to be deselected as a general election candidate and I can understand how she must be feeling”.

He said when he became party leader, he wanted to ensure the views of members were listened to and this meant heeding the views of members in Bailey’s constituency who voted to review the ticket she is on.

“We have a clause in our constitution that allows members to decide issues such as this,” he said.

Varadkar said he could not predict if Bailey would take any legal action regarding the decision to deselect her.

“It is very much a matter for Deputy Bailey regarding her further response to what happened last night,” he said.

The executive council added Councillor Jennifer Carroll MacNeill to the ticket in Bailey’s place.

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, along with councillor Barry Ward, will join her to contest the Dún Laoghaire constituency for Fine Gael at the next general election.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bailey said she feels she has been sanctioned twice, adding: “I had hoped to be able to move on and work hard to rebuild my reputation.”

Tweet by @Maria Bailey TD Source: Maria Bailey TD/Twitter

Fine Gael members in Dún Laoghaire carried a motion asking party HQ to urgently review the general election ticket in Ms Bailey’s constituency two weeks ago.

That meeting heard the party had taken a knock in the opinion polls following the controversy regarding Ms Bailey.

The Dun Laoghaire TD has been under scrutiny since her compensation case for falling off a swing at the Dean Hotel in Dublin in 2015 came to light earlier this year.

Bailey was demoted following an internal review which found that she “overstated” the extent of her injuries.

Court documents lodged as part of Bailey’s case stated that she could not run for three months after her fall but she took part in a 10km race three weeks after the incident.

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In an RTÉ radio interview in May, she said the swing had not been properly supervised at the time of her fall.

Bailey has since withdrawn proceedings she filed against the Dean Hotel and was demoted by being removed as chairwoman of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

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