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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Bailey might fight decision to drop her from election ticket

Maria Bailey has struggled to put Swing-gate behind her. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Maria Bailey has struggled to put Swing-gate behind her. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Swing-gate TD Maria Bailey has indicated to senior Fine Gael figures that she may challenge their decision to drop her from the party's general election ticket.

While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is hoping the controversy over her compensation claim will now start to fade, it may not be the end of the story.

Making a last-ditch effort to save her position, Ms Bailey told Fine Gael's Executive Council that she feels the efforts by some in the Dun Laoghaire constituency to oust her were not above board on Thursday night.

The TD was accompanied to the meeting by a solicitor.

Treatment

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who is Fine Gael's director of organisation, confirmed Ms Bailey raised concerns about her treatment.

She cited issues with how a meeting on Halloween night that concluded with a secret ballot on a motion calling for a review of the Dun Laoghaire ticket was run.

"Deputy Bailey did indicate last night that she had issues in relation to how the meeting was conducted. I'm not aware of what those issues are," Mr Donohoe said.

However, he indicated that Fine Gael will defend the decision that was ultimately taken on the recommendation of the Taoiseach.

"It is a matter for Deputy Bailey regarding her further response to what happened last night. Last night was a democratic decision that was made by the executive council of Fine Gael in relation to the candidacy for our party," he said.

"It was made after Deputy Bailey made a presentation to the executive council and it was on foot of a proposal that went to the executive council from the party later.

"I met Deputy Bailey myself earlier on in the week, I informed her of what the process will be and of the proposal that was likely to go."

The Taoiseach said he is "absolutely confident" Fine Gael followed correct procedures to remove Ms Bailey as a candidate.

He said he could understand how Ms Bailey was feeling, but the national executive had been asked to review the Dun Laoghaire ticket by local members.

"I appreciate that this is a very difficult time personally for Deputy Bailey," said Mt Varadkar.

"It's never a nice thing to be deselected, and I can understand how she must be feeling."

However, he expressed confidence that the party had followed proper procedures, and said he could not predict if Ms Bailey would take legal action.

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