Eamon Ryan questions Josepha Madigan's judgement following legal advice given to Maria Bailey

Eamon Ryan questions Josepha Madigan's judgement following legal advice given to Maria Bailey
Josepha Madigan and Maria Bailey

Arts Minister Josepha Madigan has questions to answer around the Maria Bailey personal injury claim in which she advised her party colleague, Green leader Eamon Ryan insists.

Mr Ryan also called into question Ms Madigan's judgement after it emerged this week that she gave the initial legal advise for Ms Bailey to sue a Dublin hotel after falling of a swing on its premises.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week demoted Ms Bailey by removing her as chair of the housing committee.

But there are growing demands for Ms Madigan to clarify her role in the controversy when her legal firm advised Ms Bailey.

The Taoiseach said the report found Ms Madigan “gave initial legal advice” to Ms Bailey and “assisted her with her personal injuries assessment board application” as part of a “preliminary step”, adding that the minister “did not deal with the subsequent legal proceedings” which were overseen by a different solicitor at her family firm.

But Mr Ryan, speaking to reporters at the MacGill summer school in Donegal, disagreed and also criticised the legal industry in general over mounting insurance costs.

“She [the minister] has questions to answer. Communities can't do anything now because they can't get insurance.

"And part of the problem is the legal industry have been...they have to look at themselves and say are we benefiting from this and therefore keeping the whole thing going?

"And I think it is not just the case itself that raises certain issues, it is the advice that was given.

“My understanding anytime I asked was 'oh no Minister Madigan was nowhere near this, never gave any advise'.

Now we find that she did actually, she gave the first key bit of advice which was 'yes we have a case go for it'. I think that is a real question of her judgement.

The Opposition leader's critical remarks come after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also this week called on Ms Madigan to clarify her role in the personal injury claim controversy

He said there was a “murkiness” over Ms Madigan’s role and that “inconsistencies” remain surrounding the explanation of Ms Bailey’s case.

“There has been a fair degree of murkiness about that. The degree of Josepha Madigan’s involvement should be fully transparent and should be clarified.” he said.

Ms Madigan has declined to date to speak about the affair but did say last week that she was happy with the outcome of an internal Fine Gael investigation into the case.

TD Maria Bailey withdrew the legal proceedings she had filed against the Dublin hotel after claiming she had been injured when she fell from a swing at the premises.

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton

But Environment Minister Richard Bruton insisted today that the controversy was now over. Pressed by reporters at the summer school about whether Ms Madigan had questions to answer, he responded:

“No. I think Leo Varadkar has issued a very comprehensive statement following an investigation that he had carried out. I think he has dealt with Josepha Madigan’s role in this.

"It’s there clearly stated. He recognises that she doesn’t have further questions to answer.

"He recognises that our colleague Maria Bailey made mistakes and there are consequences for those mistakes. I’ve nothing to add to that.

“I haven’t read the [Fine Gael] report so I haven’t been privy to the evidence involved. But this is an issue of internal discipline within Fine Gael. We have investigated.

"The Taoiseach has taken the approach steps and penalised the individual involved. I think we are now moving on.

"That issue has been deal with in the way that is proper, in my view.”

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