Ireland 'It’s all out in the open and won’t go away' - fresh heave against Maria Bailey breaks out in Fine Gael
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Another heave against swing fall compensation case TD Maria Bailey has broken out in Fine Gael - this time in her own political backyard.
A motion of no confidence was placed in Ms Bailey in her Dun Laoghaire constituency last week.
Now a motion demanding Fine Gael review the party ticket has been tabled by party activists in Ms Bailey’s heartland of Killiney.
She was previously a councillor for that area so it is her political base.
The party grassroots members also want an emergency special meeting to discuss the party ticket.
Ms Bailey remains a candidate for Fine Gael in the forthcoming general election.
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But some senior figures don’t want her on the ticket as they believe the compensation case controversy will damage the party.
Last week’s motion of no confidence was not voted upon.
But a second motion has now been sent to the party at constituency and national level.
The new motion asks the constituency organisation to ask the national executive to review and change the party ticket.
“It’s a bushfire now. It’s all out in the open and won’t go away,” a party source said.
Ms Bailey is not specifically named but it is understood the veteran party members who signed it have her in mind.
The wording refers to changing the ticket to boost the party’s electoral prospects.
The motion was proposed by Joe Lawlor, an experienced party activist who has served as a local director of elections for Fine Gael.
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The motion last week was tabled by Fine Gael councillor Marie Baker.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar emphasised this weekend that Fine Gael is a “and our members do decide who their candidates are”.
Mr Varadkar said he has confidence in Ms Bailey but was lukewarm about canvassing with her Tanaiste Simon Coveney firmly backed Ms Bailey, who was a supporter of his in the Fine Gael leadership race.
As revealed by the Irish Independent, Ms Bailey took a personal injury claim against the Dean Hotel after falling off a swing.
An internal Fine Gael report into Ms Bailey’s claim against the hotel on Harcourt Street found her affidavit ”overstated the impact of her injuries”.
On foot of the report, Ms Bailey was removed as chairperson of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, worth €9,500 a year, by the Taoiseach. She subsequently resigned from an Oireachtas committee dealing with ethics.
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The controversy over her compensation claim is believed to have damaged the party in the closing week of the local and European elections campaign.
Ms Bailey is running for Fine Gael in Dublin Laoghaire with junior education minister Mary Mitchell-O’Connor and councillor Barry Ward, also from Dun Laoghaire.
Fine Gael does have other options for candidates on the ticket, particularly new councillors Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Lorraine Hall, both of whom served as Government advisers.
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Votegate TDs Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins are coming under pressure to provide phone records to a Dáil probe into the matter. Fine Gael last night claimed the records should be examined as part of an ethics investigation that is to start next week. A Dáil committee is being convened during the Halloween break to examine complaints against Mr Dooley, Mr Collins and other Fianna Fáil TDs caught up in the scandal. The two TDs along with LisaFine Gael last night claimed the records should be examined as part of an ethics investigation that is to start next week.
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