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Thursday 22 August 2019

Taoiseach bombarded with over 140 messages in the wake of 'Swing-gate' saga

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey
Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was bombarded with messages criticising Fine Gael in the wake of the controversy over Maria Bailey's personal injury claim for injuries she received when falling from a swing.

Mr Varadkar's office received more than 140 items of correspondence raising concerns over the now-dropped legal action in less than a month after the case became public.

Many of the emails that came in the lead-up to the May 24 local election saw the writers tell Mr Varadkar that Fine Gael had lost their support.

The case taken by Ms Bailey against Dublin's the Dean Hotel was revealed just four days before polling day.

Mr Varadkar almost immediately received emails from members of the public telling him, and in some cases other Fine Gael politicians copied into the communications, that they would not be voting for the party.

The writer of one email on May 21 said: "Fine Gael has potentially lost a lifelong supporter", while another sent the same day said they would register their protest by not voting for Fine Gael candidates in the Midlands-North-West constituency of the European election.

Template

Some of the correspondence appears to have been based on a template.

Ministers including Josepha Madigan, Charlie Flanagan and Regina Doherty were copied in on the emails.

Ms Bailey announced that she was dropping the case on May 25 as counting was taking place in the local elections.

Mr Varadkar sought to draw a line under the controversy last week when he released a statement on the investigation of the case carried out by barrister David Kennedy on behalf of Fine Gael.

He said the inquiry stated that Ms Bailey's claim was not fraudulent. However, he also said that she over-stated the impact of her injuries on her running ability.

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