Minister says Maria Bailey should have met Taoiseach before 'unfortunate' interview


Newstalk
Newstalk

13.15 27 May 2019


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The Health Minister has described a radio interview by embattled Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey as "unfortunate" - suggesting she should have met the Taoiseach first.

It comes after Deputy Bailey today strongly defended her decision to sue a Dublin hotel after she fell off a swing.

Speaking to RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke, Ms Bailey said the release of court documents about her case was designed to cause maximum damage to her.

She said: "Just to be clear: I'm not looking for damages - I was only looking to have my medical expenses recouped.

"And I was never looking for compensation".

She added: "I was hurt, I have medical expenses - nobody questions that here".

The case caused controversy after it emerged Ms Bailey went to sue the Dean Hotel in Dublin when she fell off an indoor swing.

She explained: "We saw the swings - nobody was drunk, nobody was messing - they're like polished wood these seats.

"I sat in them, I did have a bottle of beer in my hand and next thing I knew I was on the floor.

"I had my beer in my hand, and then I was reaching for my friend's - had a bottle of wine - she was taking her camera out her jacket."

She claimed negligence, but has since dropped the case.

Deputy Bailey now says the release of court documents was designed to damage her.

She also said she had been subjected to unbelievable abuse and could not return to her home for three days because journalists were waiting outside.

Many people were angry at the case - with opposition politicians saying it flies in the face of Government efforts to tackle compensation culture in Ireland.

'Unfortunate'

Speaking at the RDS count centre this afternoon, Health Minister Simon Harris said it's his understanding Deputy Bailey spoke to RTÉ of her own volition.

He said: "I think it's appropriate that the Taoiseach will meet with Deputy Bailey - I think it's regrettable that that didn't happen in advance of an interview.

"She obviously made a decision to go on radio this morning. My understanding is that was a decision she made of her own volition, as is her right, but I think it would have been better if she had the meeting with the Taoiseach first."

He added: "I think it was an unfortunate interview. I think when you withdraw a claim that is in and of itself an acknowledgement of the fact that perhaps that claim shouldn't have proceeded - yet that interview seemed to be very much in the space of blaming lots of other people."

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has also been speaking about this morning's interview:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Sunday he wanted to discuss it with Ms Bailey.

He said: "I think in the first instance it is a private matter for her.

"It's an incident that occurred before she was even elected to the Dáil, and isn't something that the party has been involved in.

"But I haven't had a chance to talk to her yet, but I'm sure I will next week".

She gave an interview on Monday morning which has not helped her case

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has said she wished Ms Bailey had not spoken on the issue

There will potentially be ramifications within the party for Ms Bailey, with headquarters thinking the incident damaged them before the elections.

Reporting by Sean Defoe, Jack Quann and Stephen McNeice


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