Swing-gate TD Maria Bailey is facing a Halloween nightmare after her party’s local branch said it will meet tomorrow to decide whether to potentially call for her removal as a general election candidate.
Fine Gael sources told the Irish Examiner the party’s Dun Laoghaire branch will meet on Thursday evening after a motion was tabled to discuss whether changes need to be made to the constituency election ticket.
Ms Bailey has been at the centre of a
After a voter backlash, Ms Bailey dropped her legal case. However, the controversy continued to rumble on, resulting in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar demoting her and Ms Bailey losing her place on three Oireachtas committees.
Despite attempts by some party members to move past the incident, earlier this month a councillor who previously worked for Ms Bailey tabled a no confidence motion against her.
Last night, Fine Gael sources confirmed a motion will now be heard on October 31 about whether the party’s Dun Laoghaire general election ticket should be altered.
In an e-mail to all local Fine Gael members, the party said a meeting has been called for Thursday at 7.30pm in the Kingstown suite of the Royal Marine Hotel to discuss a motion by party member Joe Lawlor.
The motion reads: “The Dún Laoghaire constituency executive calls on the Fine Gael executive council to urgently review the ticket for the general election and to make any changes necessary in order to improve our prospects in the election.”
Any changes to the party’s Dun Laoghaire general election candidates — who currently comprise Ms Bailey, minister of state for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, and councillor Barry Ward — can only be decided by the Fine Gael national executive council.
However, any local pushback against Ms Bailey or another candidate will put senior officials under extreme pressure to definitively address the issue.
Asked by the Irish Examiner in Brussels earlier this month if he will commit to campaigning with Ms Bailey in her constituency, Mr Varadkar said: “Whenever the election comes I’ll be happy to campaign alongside any candidate who’s been selected and ratified for Fine Gael.”