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Maria Bailey’s complaint over ‘untrue and damaging’ comments on RTE rejected

The former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey said ‘untrue and damaging comments’ were made about her during a panel discussion on RTE radio.

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Maria Bailey’s complaint has been rejected by the BAI (Niall Carson/PA)

Maria Bailey’s complaint has been rejected by the BAI (Niall Carson/PA)

Maria Bailey’s complaint has been rejected by the BAI (Niall Carson/PA)

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has rejected a complaint from the former TD Maria Bailey about comments made about her on a radio programme last year.

Ms Bailey was involved in controversy last year after taking a compensation case for falling off a swing at the Dean Hotel in Dublin in 2015.

Court documents lodged as part of Ms 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.

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

Ms Bailey has since withdrawn proceedings she filed against the Dean Hotel and is no longer a TD as she could not run in this year’s general election because she was deselected as a Fine Gael candidate.

In her complaint to the BAI, Ms Bailey said “untrue and damaging comments” were made about her during a panel discussion on the Today With Sean O’Rourke programme on RTE Radio last November.

Ms Bailey said members of the radio panel made references to defrauding insurance and “inaccurate comments” were presented as fact and not challenged by the presenter Miriam O’Callaghan.

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Josepha Madigan (left) and Maria Bailey during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork (Niall Carson/PA)

Josepha Madigan (left) and Maria Bailey during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork (Niall Carson/PA)

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Josepha Madigan (left) and Maria Bailey during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork (Niall Carson/PA)

In her complaint, she acknowledges that one of the panellists defended her by highlighting that panellists were using the word “fraud” when she was not found to have made a fraudulent claim.

“The presenter interrupted the panellist to state that they did not say fraud, however, the complainant believes that the two panellists were clearly speaking about fraud,” her complaint reads.

Ms Bailey said she did not consider the programme was “fair, objective and impartial”.

In response to the complaint, RTE said: “The panel discussed the complainant’s deselection. However, the broadcaster is of the view that this matter has involved a wider debate regarding insurance claims. The broadcaster states that it was in the context of this wider debate that the comment was made.”

The BAI outlined its reason for rejecting Ms Bailey’s complaint and said “more clarity may have been provided regarding the panel’s comments on fraud”.

“The committee noted that although the presenter did not offer her own views, more clarity may have been provided regarding the panel’s comments on fraud. However, when taken as a whole, the committee determined that the subject matter was treated fairly and presented in an objective manner. The programme did not infringe the code and, as such, the complaint was rejected.”

PA