Minister Richard Bruton has strongly backed fellow Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey to represent the party in the next election following her “swing-gate” controversy.
Mr Bruton broke ranks with many of his fellow Fine Gael ministers who have been wary of supporting the Dun Laoghaire politician in the wake of her injury claim for falling off a hotel swing, which she has since withdrawn.
Mr Bruton said that he has “great confidence” in Ms Bailey saying her “mistake” would only strengthen her as a TD. “I think making a mistake and being bold enough to admit this and move on is is a strength of character and I fully endorse her candidacy,” he said.
“I have great confidence in Maria Bailey, she may have made a mistake. What one of us has not made a mistake in our period? She has admitted her mistake, and she is offering herself for election. The electorate will make this decision but Maria Bailey is someone that I strongly support to be on the ticket.”
Ms Bailey was removed as chair of an Oireachtas Committee by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after an internal party report into the matter.
Asked if Ms Bailey would pay a price in the next general election, Mr Bruton said:
“That remains to be seen. I believe a lot of people understand that people in politics as in other parts of life can make mistakes in their career.
If we all were punished more than she’s already had to suffer for the mistakes we made. I think many careers in politics would be prematurely ended.
Fellow Minister Heather Humphreys said Ms Bailey had been selected along with the two other candidates to run in Dun Laoighaire, but shied away from fully supporting the TD.
“It ultimately is up to the electorate in that constituency to decide whether Maria Bailey is elected in the next election or not.
"She has been nominated and she has been democratically nominated through the party to represent the Fine Gael party along with two others in the constituency,” she said.