Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey is coming under fresh pressure over her swing fall case after it emerged she originally wanted the Dean Hotel to pay her €20,000 in compensation — almost three times more than previously stated.
A number of party colleagues privately raised concerns over the latest revelation just days after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar released a detailed statement on an unpublished independent report into the affair.
Reports at the weekend said when Ms Bailey fell from a swing at the Dean Hotel in 2015, she wrote to the hotel seeking €20,000 to compensate her for a number of injuries and other costs related to what happened.
The figure in the 2015 letter contradicts Ms Bailey’s public claim in late May on RTÉ Radio’s Today With Sean O’Rourke programme, that she had asked for €7,000 from the hotel to cover medical costs.
“There are legitimate expenses that are verified, you’re only talking €6,000 to €7,000 here. I’ve absorbed those costs already,” Ms Bailey told RTÉ in late May.
Ms Bailey is understood to have sent the letter to the Dean Hotel seeking the €20,000 in compensation after she was given a cheque from the hotel for €600 to cover medical costs.
The Fine Gael TD declined this cheque and pushed ahead with legal action against the Dean Hotel. However, she withdrew the case earlier this summer after a flurry of public criticism which her party admits damaged its local and European election campaigns.
The €20,000 letter request emerged just days after Mr Varadkar released a statement outlining the findings of an independent investigation into the swing case by barrister David Kennedy.
Fine Gael has refused to publish this “internal” investigation, citing confidentiality agreements with participants in the review.
In his statement — which raised separate and still unanswered questions over Culture Minister Josepha Madigan’s role in the case — Mr Varadkar said he was concerned about contradictions in Ms Bailey’s public statements on what happened.
“It is clear to me that Deputy Bailey made numerous errors of judgment in her handling of this matter from the outset, during and even after she’d withdrawn the case,” read his statement.
In a separate statement last week, Ms Bailey said while she accepted the investigation’s findings, she did not attempt to mislead anyone over what happened.