Taoiseach will speak with Maria Bailey TD over legal 'swing' case next week

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will speak with Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey over her "swing" court case "next week" after she confirmed on Saturday night she is dropping the legal action.

Speaking to reporters at the City West Hotel count centre in Dublin on Saturday, Mr Varadkar said while the issue is "a private matter" he will talk with Ms Bailey in the coming days about what happened, and the impact on the party.

When asked if Fine Gael would take action against Ms Bailey, the Taoiseach said:

"In the first instance I think it is a private matter for her, it's an incident that occurred before she was even elected to the Dáil and it isn't something that the party has been involved in.

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

Mr Varadkar was speaking after it was confirmed Ms Bailey is dropping her legal "swing" case against a Dublin hotel after a week of deepening controversy surrounding the legal action.

Maria Bailey dropping legal 'swing' case against Dublin hotel, reports

Earlier: Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey is reportedly dropping her legal "swing" case against a Dublin hotel after a week of deepening controversy surrounding the legal action.

Ms Bailey took the decision as several prominent politicians criticised her for the case and how it compares to the Government's insurance cases crackdown.

On Monday, just days out from Friday's local and European elections, it emerged Ms Bailey lodged a claim against the Dean Hotel in Dublin City in 2015.

The case related to a fall from a swing, which Ms Bailey said happened in part because she was not properly supervised at the time.

Ms Bailey said the incident led to a back injury which has caused her significant medical costs, and limited her ability to run and complete other exercises to the same standard as she previously achieved.

However, it has since emerged that, among other matters, the hotel offered her €600 towards her medical bills which was turned down and that Ms Bailey ran a 10km race in less than 54 minutes days after the 2015 incident.

Reports on Saturday evening said that, after consideration of the events, Ms Bailey has now brought her legal challenge to an end.

Ms Bailey did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking clarity on her decision from the Irish Examiner.

However, in an interview with the Sunday Independent, she said:

"I had nothing to hide. I had an accident, I was hurt and I had medical bills as a result of the accident.”

The newspaper said she has decided to withdraw the case because "the past week has been very difficult for my family" and is a distraction from her political work and wants to "draw a line in the sand" on the issue.

"As far as I am concerned this matter is now closed," she said.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan had earlier refused to say if she played any role in advising Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey to take her swing compensation case to court, despite her family law firm representing the TD.

Ms Madigan declined to clarify if she "did or didn't" advise her Fine Gael colleague on the case, which Ms Madigan's family law firm lodged on their client's behalf in 2015 - two years before Ms Madigan left the firm.

Speaking to reporters at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, Ms Madigan was asked if she had any role in the case.

She said: "Whether I did or didn't, there is client-solicitor confidentiality so I am not in a position to say. I am not involved in the firm at all, it's nothing to do with me."

Asked if the controversy surrounding the case has affected Fine Gael's poll standing, Ms Madigan initially ignored the question. Asked a second time, she said:

"There have been a number of issues. You have to put this into context, this is a mid-term election, in the last 20 years there is no Government that has made gains in a mid-term election.

"If you look at the European elections for example there is 29% of a growth since 2014, which I think is a recognition of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the work that they have done in relation to Brexit."

Asked if Ms Bailey should withdraw the case, Ms Madigan said:

"I think that's a matter for Maria Bailey, I am not going to comment on an individual case.

"I think we have to remember that this case is pending," said said adding that she didn't even know which court the action is being taken in as she is no longer in the firm.

"I don't even know the status of it and even if I did I am not going to comment on that either, it's a confidential matter."

More on this topic

'This is an internal party matter' - Taoiseach may not publish Maria Bailey 'swing-gate' report

Taoiseach: Review to 'establish the facts' in Maria Bailey swing case will take two weeks

Fine Gael to undertake internal review into Maria Bailey swing case

Leo Varadkar endorses Minister's criticism of Maria Bailey over 'swing-gate' case

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