Maria Bailey breaks the silence to slam Leo Varadkar’s handling of the ‘Swing Gate’ controversy
Former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey has criticized Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s handling of the ‘Winged Gate’ controversy, claiming he ‘threw fuel on the fire’.
s Bailey found herself at the center of a political storm in 2019 after it was revealed she had filed an assault lawsuit against the Dean Hotel as a result of falling off a swing set.
She dropped the case after the Irish Independent revealed she ran a 10k three weeks after the fall, despite signing an affidavit saying she had not been able to run at all for three months .
Fine Gael conducted an internal review of Ms Bailey’s assault lawsuit and she was subsequently dropped as a candidate in the next election.
Senior Counsel David Kennedy was hired to establish all the facts surrounding the case.
Today Ms Bailey broke a long silence about Sage in an interview with The Irish Times.
She claims that the party-commissioned review had a “predetermined outcome.” And she complained about how Leo Varadkar demoted her as chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee in 2019.
“During this time, only due process, transparency and a fair trial have been spoken of, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was a predetermined outcome,” she said.
The Kennedy review, which Fine Gael never published, reportedly said Ms Bailey fell backwards off the swing, hitting her head and back.
Critics say that when she fell, she was holding a bottle of beer in one hand and a wine cooler with a bottle of wine in the other. The wine cooler hit her side in the face.
“I can see the comedy side, but at the end of the day — comedy aside — I was injured, and those are injuries that I’ve had to deal with extensively over the past few years,” she said.
Kennedy reportedly concluded that Bailey suffered a genuine injury from the fall, which was seen on CCTV and diagnosed by doctors.
“I understand if it was a political decision; It’s good. I should have taken that on the chin,” she said.
“But that was different. It would damage my character and my reputation… it would destroy me, finish me off completely for overdoing my case.
“Why isn’t Leo’s position untenable? He discredited the party by leaking a confidential document. The polls reflect that. He harmed the party. There was no review by Leo Varadkar.”
“We constantly undermine the idea that politicians are people with families too. It’s the ripple effect. What Leo did was act in it. He poured gasoline on the fire.”
A Fine Gael spokesman declined to comment on Ms Bailey’s interview.
Ms Bailey told the publication that she had told Mr Varadkar at the time of the check that she needed help and that she was not doing well mentally.
When asked about it today, a spokesman for Mr Varadkar reiterated to the Irish Independent that the Taoiseach “has no recollection of such a request being made of him”.
“Upon request, TDs, senators and party staff are provided with free counseling and professional mental health support, on a confidential and self-referral basis,” he added.
The controversy eventually ended Ms Bailey’s 16-year career in politics.
“It has had a tremendous impact on not just my family – my children, my husband and my immediate family,” she told the Irish Times.
I didn’t realize my family had put me under suicide watch for a while. That only came to light in hindsight.”
When the scandal first broke, Dun Laoghaire’s then-TD was interviewing Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One – something she now accepts was a “mistake” and “an error of judgement”.
“It was my fault; I knew I wasn’t in the mood, but what politician hasn’t done a bad interview?” she said.
Discussing the fall, Ms Bailey said she knew immediately she was injured.
“I’ve had nine surgeries, the last of which was recent major spinal surgery,” she said.
“That was in October and hopefully that will be the last for a very long time. For the first time in seven years, I am 90 percent pain free.
“I accepted that I was there. I sat on the swing.
“The swings now have non-slip strips. They didn’t have them then. I wasn’t drunk and it could happen to anyone.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/maria-bailey-breaks-silence-to-criticise-leo-varadkars-handling-of-swing-gate-controversy-42304441.html Maria Bailey breaks the silence to slam Leo Varadkar’s handling of the ‘Swing Gate’ controversy