herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

TD 'had items in both hands' when she fell off swing, hotel claims

FG TD Maria Bailey
FG TD Maria Bailey

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey was holding items in both of her hands when she fell out of a swing, a hotel she is suing over the incident claims.

Ms Bailey (43) has sued the Dean Hotel in Dublin for damages of up to €60,000 over injuries she alleges she suffered to her head, back and hip.

The Dun Laoghaire TD says she fell backwards out of an indoor swing while having her photo taken during a night out with friends in 2015.

In circuit court proceedings, she accused the hotel of negligence, saying the swing was "unsupervised" and there were no signs to instruct patrons how to safely use it.

Pain

Ms Bailey claimed she can no longer sit or stand for long periods without experiencing pain or discomfort. She also said she used to run 70km a week before the fall, but has had to reduce this to less than 20km.

The hotel is denying liability, saying that if any injury was suffered, this was due to Ms Bailey's own negligence or contributory negligence.

In defence papers filed with the court, the hotel alleged she failed to use the swing in a proper manner and held items in both hands, restricting her ability to balance and preventing her from holding rope grips properly.

The indorsement of claim filed in court by Ms Bailey's solicitors makes no mention of her holding anything in her hands when she fell.

Details of the case have emerged at a time when there is considerable political focus on personal injury awards and high insurance costs.

Ms Bailey's case was briefly mentioned before the County Registrar at Dublin Circuit Civil Court yesterday.

Grainne Berkery BL, for Holtend Limited, trading as the Dean Hotel, told the registrar that on consent Ms Bailey had six weeks to file an affidavit of discovery.

It is understood this is to satisfy a request for medical and dental records for the three years prior to the alleged incident. Discovery is a routine part of such cases.

Ms Bailey was not in court. She is being represented by Madigan Solicitors, a law firm run by a brother of Culture Minister Josepha Madigan. Ms Madigan, a solicitor, stepped away from the firm after becoming a TD.

In her action, lawyers for Ms Bailey, of Woodside Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, said she was at the trendy Harcourt Street hotel with a group of friends on July 13, 2015. They said that at around 9pm, her party went to the top floor, where there was "a swing unit".

Her solicitors said she was sitting on a swing "unsupervised", having her photo taken by friends, "when she was caused to fall backwards".

She struck the ground, with her hip, lower back and head taking the brunt of the impact, according to the claim.

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