Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he cannot commit to publishing the awaited report into the Maria Bailey ‘swing-gate’ controversy.

Maria Bailey.

Speaking in Dublin today, Mr Varadkar said he has yet to receive the report and will have to consider privacy issues in determining whether its appropriate to release it.

Senior Counsel David Kennedy was asked by the party to “establish the facts” around Ms Bailey’s personal injuries case against the Dean Hotel, which caused significant controversy in the run up to the local and European elections.

The Taoiseach said: “I have to see it first, and bear in mind there is an issue of due process here. This is an internal party inquiry, not a public inquiry, but I would have to see it first really, and I haven’t yet.”

“I haven’t yet, but once I do will let you know.

“But it is an internal party matter rather than a Government issue.”

Mr Varadkar also clarified that he intends to proceed with four by-elections before the end of this year rather than move straight to a General Election.

Comments made by the Taoiseach last week were interpreted by Fine Gael TDs and Senators that the by-elections would not happen, but he said his colleagues took him up wrong.

“It is not a mixed message at all. The next national election that occurs in Ireland will be the next General Election. There won’t be European and local elections for another five years, the Presidential doesn’t arise for another six years. By-elections are different, they are not national elections, they will only occur in 4 constituencies,” he said.

“They took it up wrong,” he said.

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