Maria Bailey has opened up about the abuse she received after Swing-gate and said she still suffers from injuries six years later after her infamous fall in a Dublin restaurant.
he former Fine Gael TD received widespread criticism after she made a personal injuries claim against The Dean Hotel after she fell off a swing in its Sophie’s restaurant in 2015.
Her claim became public knowledge in 2019 and she later dropped the case after it emerged that she ran a 10km race three weeks after the fall.
Speaking to The Irish Daily Star, Ms Bailey said “the truth” was taken out of her hands.
“People can have opinions about me taking a case or not taking a case. I respect that. But, there’s a lot more to that, that people don’t know.”
The former politician added that today she is still “seriously injured” and is still undergoing medical procedures related to the fall.
In relation to the online abuse she received, Ms Bailey said she was “fearful” of going anywhere on her own, and although she has a more private life now she is out of politics “the effects of it still follow”.
“I’ve had vile abuse online, some in person. Pretty scary stuff,” she said.
“I had letters, I had phone calls of abuse, some disgusting stuff sent to me in the post. Threatening stuff, people telling me to jump off a cliff.”
Ms Bailey said that the abuse really affected her and that Caroline Flack’s death really “hit home” for her, especially her unpublished Instagram post which was later released.
“I think Caroline Flack’s parents had a post on her Instagram which was very apt- the truth is taken out of our hands and into the hands of entertainment.
“And that’s what happened (to me). That really hit home for me.
“In my case, it’s true, that the truth is taken out of your hands and into entertainment. Like there were Halloween costumes, there were pantomimes.”
When the scandal first broke, the former Fine Gael politician did an interview with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1- something she now admits was a mistake.
The interview received criticism from her own colleagues, and Ms Bailey now says it was a mistake for her to go on-air as it was in the midst of when her father John, who had Motor Neuron Disease, was dying.
“I don’t have regrets, because I can’t change that, but I made a mistake. I made that decision myself emotionally to do that and I shouldn’t have. I was under severe pressure at the time.”
Ms Bailey said she believes something positive came out of Swing-gate, and that’s highlighting the effect that online abuse has.
“I actually think there’s something positive that can come out of it,” she said.
“I think that at some line it cannot just be a Caroline Flack situation where it’s too late.
“Like at what level is it too much? I think that’s the question that we need to ask people.
“For me and my situation, it was too much, and it didn’t warrant in my view, to go from May 20 up until February the following year.”
The former TD said she wouldn’t rule out a return to politics in the future.
Source: Irish News