By Anthony Neeson
Politicians are used to swings. At least the political version.
A Fine Gael TD has admitted that she had a beer in her hand and was reaching for a friend’s bottle of wine when she fell from a hotel swing in Dublin.
Maria Bailey was speaking on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke’s radio program.
She initiated a personal injury legal action against The Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street for an incident where she suffered injuries in the fall.
The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown TD has been criticized from within her own party since the disclosure of her fall became public knowledge. She said the leak to a national newspaper was pre-planned to “cause the maximum damage.”
Bailey has since dropped the case claiming that she had only been looking to have her medical expenses recouped.
When asked by O’Rourke whether she believed there were “political dirty tricks involved” from within Fine Gael or another party, she said she refused to “cast aspersions,” nor did she believe that the revelation had affected the Fine Gael vote in the recent elections.
Recalling the incident in question Bailey said she is not a “big social animal, I rarely go out to be honest.”
She continued: “We met at my friends’ house in Sandyford, we had a glass of wine each, we hopped on the Luas, and we went to a bar/hotel that had just recently opened.
“We purchased a drink each at the bar, which we didn’t consume, we went up in the lift, we saw the swings. Nobody was drunk, nobody was messing. They’re like polished wood, these seats. I sat on them. I did have a bottle of beer in my hand and next thing I knew I was on the floor.”
When queried on this by O’Rourke, Bailey added: “I had my beer in my hand, and then I was reaching for my friend’s, I had a bottle of wine, she was taking her camera out of her jacket. I then found myself on the floor.”
Fine Gael sources said that they were not aware that Bailey was to appear on the program.
Health Minister Simon Harris said: “My understanding is that is a decision she made of her own volition, as is her right.
“I think it would have been better if she had the meeting with the Taoiseach first.”
Harris added: “I think it was an unfortunate interview. I think when you withdraw a claim I think it is in and of itself an acknowledgement of the fact that perhaps that claim shouldn’t have proceeded, yet the interview seems to be very much in the space of blaming lots of other people.”
Reports indicated that Bailey would be meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to discuss the matter.