'damaged the party' | 

Swing-gate TD Maria Bailey blasts Leo Varadkar for bringing Fine Gael into 'disrepute'

Ms Bailey said that double standards were at play when she was demoted within the party following ‘swing-gate’

Former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

Infamous swing-gate TD Maria Bailey has blasted party leader Leo Varadkar for bringing Fine Gael into “disrepute.”

Bailey, who hit the headlines in May 2019 when it emerged she had started legal proceedings against the Dean Hotel on Dublin’s Harcourt Street.

Ms Bailey claimed she injured her back after falling off a swing in Sophie’s restaurant in 2015.

She later withdrew her case after a public backlash when details of the claims were made public in 2019.

She then faced further criticism, including from her own party colleagues, when she took part in a now-infamous radio interview with then-RTE Today host Sean O’Rourke.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Bailey said she believes that there was double standards within her party after a criminal investigation into Leo Varadkar for leaking GP contracts led to no charges.

“How is Leo’s position not untenable? He has brought the party into disrepute in terms of his leak of a confidential document.”

“The polls reflect that. He damaged the party. There was no review of Leo Varadkar,” she said.

In July 2022, An Garda Siochana said that the DPP directed that there were to be no charges brought against Vardkar for the 2019 incident in which he leaked the IMO contract he gave to then NAGP President Maitiu Ó Tuathail.

Bailey said that she doesn’t understand the “very cold” and “manipulative” manner in which she was “destroyed” by her party over the incident.

She also told the publication that she doesn’t accept the “unfounded” grounds in which Varadkar demoted her, claiming his reasons were not supported by an internal review.

In July 2019, following a review into the incident, she was removed as chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

“Privately, it destroyed me,” she continued.

“It had an enormous impact not just on my family – my kids, my husband and my immediate family. I didn’t realise that my family had me on suicide watch for a period of time. It was only afterwards that that came to light.”

She said she became “a character beyond recognition to what the actual facts were.”

“I just became unrecognisable. I was just a laughing stock.”

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