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'We live in a strange world': Michael McDowell criticises Fine Gael TD over injury lawsuit

McDowell referenced the case before the Circuit Civil Court in the Seanad yesterday. / YouTube

SENATOR, AND FORMER Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell has criticised a Fine Gael TD for legal action taken against a hotel over injuries she alleges she sustained in a fall at the property.

McDowell highlighted the case of Maria Bailey in the Seanad yesterday. He also said “we cannot stand idly by” if the government is “serious about driving down the claims culture”.

In a personal injury action before the Dublin Circuit Civil Court, Bailey alleges negligence or breach of duty against the Dean Hotel over a fall from a swing at the venue, the Irish Independent reported.

The Irish Independent has also reported the hotel is disputing liability.

Standing before the Seanad yesterday, McDowell said he was “struck” by an account of the case.

“I just want to say two things without commenting on the merits of the case,” he said. “It would appear that 55 years after Belfast City Council unlocked the swings on Sundays, the proposition is being put in court that there should be supervisors for swings when adults are using them and that it is a matter of civil liability if there are not.

It does occur to me that we live in a strange world where civil liability can exist in such circumstances.  Who knows; maybe we are only hearing a portion of the evidence.

The former justice minister added: “It also occurs to me that if the Government is serious about driving down the claims culture, we cannot stand idly by when adults with two objects, one in each hand, lose their seat and fall off a swing and then claim that there should have been a supervisor looking after them, especially when it comes from somebody who has so much public influence and clear influence over Government policy in these matters.”

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