Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach backs Maria Bailey following reports she faces motion of no confidence

The motion was put down by the Blackrock district of Fine Gael, a section of the Dun Laoghaire branch she is a member of.

Fine Gael politician Maria Bailey who has hit out at the media after it was revealed that she was seeking damages from a hotel (Niall Carson/PA)
Fine Gael politician Maria Bailey who has hit out at the media after it was revealed that she was seeking damages from a hotel (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon and Aoife Moore, PA

Leo Varadkar has backed Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey following reports that she is facing a motion of no confidence tabled against her.

The motion was put down by the Blackrock district of Fine Gael, a section of the Dun Laoghaire branch she is a member of.

If the motion is passed, she could potentially be removed as a general election candidate.

Ms Bailey was demoted from the party following an internal party review which found she “overstated” the extent of her injuries she suffered after falling from a swing at the Dean Hotel in Dublin in 2015.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Varadkar was asked whether he has confidence in his party colleague.

“Yeah I have confidence in Deputy Bailey as a candidate for the general election,” he added.

“She is somebody who made some very significant errors of judgment, but she has been reprimanded for that, she has been demoted and I demoted her and removed her as chair of the housing committee, but Fine Gael is a democratic party, and our members do decide who their candidate is.

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Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney both expressed support for Ms Bailey (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We have to respect that.

“Whenever the election comes I’ll be happy to campaign alongside any candidate who’s been selected and ratified for Fine Gael, you know, that goes without saying.”

In a radio interview with RTE in May she said the the swing was not properly supervised at the time of her fall.

Ms Bailey has since withdrawn her legal proceedings she had filed against the hotel.

On Friday morning, Deputy Irish Premier Simon Coveney affirmed his support for Ms Bailey and said the electorate will ultimately have their say about her.

“Maria Bailey is somebody who has paid a very, very heavy price for making a mistake and she continues to pay that price,” he told RTE radio.

“She is a very hard-working TD, she has been selected to represent Fine Gael in the next general election.”

He said Ms Bailey is “looking to rebuild her political career” and said she had already faced disciplinary action.

Ms Bailey was removed as Chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee last month and replaced by TD Noel Rock.

“The Maria Bailey I know is somebody who would desperately like to rewind the clock on some of the choices she made.

“She has paid an extraordinary price for a mistake and is dying to move on with both her political career and her life,” he said.

PA

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