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Thursday 14 November 2019

Bailey faces boot from FG ticket as members vote for 'urgent review'

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey
Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey

Swing-gate TD Maria Bailey is set to be booted off Fine Gael's election ticket.

Members of her Dun Laoghaire constituency last night voted for an "urgent review" of their election strategy.

While the motion did not directly call for Ms Bailey to be dropped, party headquarters will now be expected to take action.

The first-time deputy has been the focus of massive political and media attention since the Herald revealed last May that she was suing a Dublin hotel as a result of a fall from a swing.

Ms Bailey dropped the case after it was revealed she ran a 10km race three weeks after the incident in July 2015. It was claimed in court papers, lodged on her behalf, that she could not run "at all" for three months.

The motion tabled at last night's meeting called on Fine Gael's hierarchy to "urgently review" the election ticket and "make any changes necessary in order to improve our prospects in the forthcoming general election". The party hopes to win two seats in the four-seat constituency.

Secret

In an unusual move, the membership were allowed to cast their vote by secret ballot.

Ms Bailey was herself seen preparing to cast her ballot at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire last night. She declined to comment as she left the meeting following the vote.

The news that members had backed the motion calling on party headquarters to review the general election ticket was confirmed shortly before 9.30pm.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will now ultimately have to make the decision on her future. He is Fine Gael's director of elections for the general election.

Senior party figures, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, have stressed over recent days that they would listen to the membership in Dun Laoghaire.

Speaking prior to last night's vote, Mr Donohoe echoed this point.

"While I wish some things had happened differently in relation to the issues that Deputy Bailey was involved with, I have to also acknowledge that she is a very hard-working and very competent member of the Dail," he said.

Ms Bailey is on the election ticket alongside Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor and councillor Barry Ward.

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