Eamonn Kelly: Not Far From The Tree

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From top: Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell (left) with, Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Councillor John Bailey and his daughter Maria Bailey, a Fine Gael TD, canvassing during the Local Elections on May 16; Eamonn Kelly

The Maria Bailey story has more legs than a bag of creepy crawlies. Though it is in danger of reaching saturation point, it is still delivering all kinds of oddities.

A commentator on Broadsheet directed us to a Wiki page on John Bailey, Ms Bailey’s father, a Dalkey publican and a Fine Gael politician who has an interesting past in terms of false claims and deceitful practises, along with defences of his actions not unlike Maria Bailey’s defence of her actions.

To win votes in the 2007 general election John Bailey apparently circulated a letter mocked up to look like a Fine Gael directive from the top, the deception reinforced by featuring a photograph of Enda Kenny, the letter instructing people to vote Bailey No 1, for party vote management reasons.

The deceit was later described by the Fine Gael director of elections as a “serious breach of party discipline and unity.”

In 2009, when constituents were protesting about building work in Dun Laoghaire golf club, Bailey wrote to the constituents to say he had objected to the planned development. An Bord Pleanala said no such objection was made. Bailey said it must have got lost in the post.

It later emerged in stories from the Sunday Business Post and the Sunday Tribune that both Bailey and his daughter Maria, had received election donations from the builders engaged in work on the golf course.  Bailey denied that these donations had any bearing on his failure to object to the development.

The point here is, that he took time to actually write a letter to constituents deliberately designed to mislead and give a false impression of where his loyalties lay.

In 2009 Bailey again set out to deceive Fine Gael with another letter, this one designed to block a rival’s daughter from involvement in the selection process for candidates for Fine Gael for the Dun Laoghaire constituency.

The selection convention was cancelled at short notice when three sitting Fine Gael candidates, Bailey being one of them, declared their unanimous view that they should be the only three candidates running in the ward.

The FG executive council agreed. The side-lined candidate sought a court injunction against Fine Gael for failing to follow its own procedures. The case was settled out of court.

In 2010 the Irish Times reported that Bailey had received donations from another building developer which he failed to declare to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The Sunday Tribune later reported that he had also received undeclared donations from the developers involved in the Dun Laoghaire golf course development. Bailey pled innocent and characterised himself as a hard worker and straight-up Joe. A misunderstood good egg.

In 2013 Bailey created some fake news by designing a leaflet to look like it stemmed from the local Dun Laoghaire Gazette, endorsing Bailey. The Dublin Gazette group sought an apology. Bailey refused and said he didn’t see what the big deal was about.

The big deal was about breaching a newspaper’s copyright in order to deceive the public by passing off a forgery as an editorial in order to gain political advantage.

Fine Gael said they could not condone or support the attempted deceit. Nevertheless, they did accept it, and no action of any consequence was taken against Bailey.

Bailey was involved in sports administration and similar legends pepper his career in that area too, mainly around his apparent ambition to manage the Dublin football team.

He eventually did get to be appointed team manager of the Dublin Hurling team for a short time, after the manager was removed following a string of dismal performances. Bailey was installed as interim manager but the Dublin hurlers refused to train under him.

Bailey threatened to have them all barred from ever playing for Dublin again should they refuse to accept him as manager.

In other words, the good egg threatened to destroy their sporting careers unless they accepted him in a role that he clearly did not earn on sporting merit, but had politicked himself into. The players refused to accept him anyway and he was subsequently replaced.

What is striking about all this is that such a track record has gone unpunished by the Fine Gael party, self-proclaimed upholders of all that is righteous.

A party who represent the privileged and denigrate the ordinary person at every turn, both in terms of attitude and of policy, creating a society where the privileged get all the breaks, while the ordinary people foot the bills and carry the guilt and the burden for failed policies, on the often intimated charge that they have been “lazy” or “weak”.

Clearly Fine Gael are prepared to put up with the sort of moral example the Baileys provide, simply for political expedience.

Then it turns out that Maria Bailey is a second cousin of Simon Harris, the minister currently taking on the task of wrecking the Irish Health service in the interests of privatisation; and though they are said not to be close, the relationship illustrates the small world of the Irish elite. They are in a sense, our 1%.

Maria Bailey said in the RTÉ interview with Sean O’Rourke that the affidavit claiming she could not run competitively for three months after the swing fall was “a mistake”.

But was it a mistake simply because she was caught in a contradiction?

How does that sit with Leo Varadkar, after all the press he created to convince people that welfare fraud was rife? A charge roundly rejected by a former social welfare officer.

It was claimed in The Journal today that a Fine Gael ‘source’ said that they “did not envisage that she [Bailey] would be expelled from the party, stating that would be an ‘overreaction’…”

Instead, the punishment will be that she will lose the privilege of chairing a committee, on housing, of all things. This amounts to a financial loss too, since the role delivers a $9,000 stipend. Losing the chair is a kind of fine, in a way.

But in Ireland over the last couple of years, 11,000 people per year were taken to court for TV license evasion, surely a lesser offence, and often one committed by poor people as a result of straitened circumstances.

Maria Bailey said that it is a personal “tragedy” for her and her family. A family whose patriarch has himself a record in deliberate deceit.

Which begs the question, is this an isolated case, or does the Bailey saga represent a trend among the privileged?

Are the Baileys just overtly careless about displaying an attitude that may have wider, if more circumspect acceptance, among a certain class of people? Or are they freaks?

Maria Bailey supported Simon Coveney in the leadership election that saw Varadkar take the helm. These people are only a few steps removed from serious political power and influence in Ireland.

That should give everyone, including Fine Gael, pause for thought.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance journalist,

Yesterday: Always looking For Someone’s Manager

Meanwhile…

67 thoughts on “Eamonn Kelly: Not Far From The Tree

    1. Dr.Fart MD

      plenty of people didn’t know about him. so he wrote about it, including the facts from the wikipedia page. nothing wrong done there at all. you prize winning berk.

      1. martco

        @Rob_G is just narked because his side are getting carved open over this, amirite?

        try be a bit more noble Rob

        this is a duck that quacks & walks…just like exonerated photoshop Frances

        lookit..there’s unsavoury dodgy politicians in EVERY corner, just FG’s mask slipped here bigtime on this occasion. it affects both you, I & Dr. Fart in the same way

        we have to work stop this kind of crap in public life, make it more vocational & eliminate greedy self-interested tossers like these! less Bailey more Dr. Noël Browne

    2. EK

      Thanks for directing us to the page, Rob. We didn’t know about it until your timely intervention.

  1. newsjustin

    Ummm…11,000 x €1,000 isn’t €11,000 its €11 million.

    I didn’t know anything about the father. Very interesting.

    1. Mr. P

      Yea, I spotted that too.. that mis-calculation and the following sentence damages the article.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        and, bodger, i don’t think she ever went quite as far as to claim that she couldn’t *walk* for three months….

        “Maria Bailey said in the RTÉ interview with Sean O’Rourke that the affidavit claiming she could not walk for three months after the swing fall was “a mistake”.”

        i think she said she was unable to run competitively

          1. Brother Barnabas

            you know me, bodger – here to help

            [one more thing:

            “Bailey was involved in sports administration before becoming a TD…”

            john bailey was never a TD. he went for election in 2007 (and possibly again after that) but thankfully he didnt get elected. the height of his political achievement is councillor.

          2. Brother Barnabas

            soon as i’m left alone in the office, i’ll be rooting around for a certain commenter’s email address

        1. JLK

          I think she may have claimed in court docs that she couldn’t walk for 3mths and that is part of the problem of submitting false/inaccurate court documents likely hoping for a bit out of court payout. She said in interview that she would’ve had opportunity to correct those inaccuracies if it went to court.
          Maybe I heard wrong?

  2. Brother Barnabas

    “and the overall reaction seems to be that it was bad manners”

    not really

  3. dhod

    as a business owner this story has really angered me. 3 years ago a woman tripped over her own high heels in my shop. Months later a solicitor letter arrived with a completely fictional version of events claiming it was all our fault. We were in court recently and won although our premium doubled in the three years the case was open. This whole Maria Bailey thing has been so frustrating to read. The entitlement, the lack of responsibility for her own clumsiness and her arrogance. i hope it finally kick starts insurance reform in Ireland

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      Do you mind me asking what will happen to your premium after the win, dhod?

      1. dhod

        we’re now free to shop around again do it should be cheaper next time around. While the case was pending no other company would go near us so we were stuck paying the inflated premium. We can’t be reimbursed for the extra money spent on insurance over the past three years – it’s just tough luck!

        1. Barry the Hatchet

          Thanks dhod. Pretty rubbish that you can’t get a refund on your increased premium, given that you weren’t at fault. :(

  4. Tony

    ‘Which begs the question, is this an isolated case, or does the Bailey saga represent a trend among the privileged?‘

    I’m Bart Simpson.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Hardly exclusive to the ‘privileged’ (a term I hate btw). Compo claims come from all socio-economic groups. There are lads out on long-term sick leave with back trouble who appear miraculously cured when they’re hopping on and off the bar stool.

      This Bailey case is positively exposing the compo culture for what it is. She’ll be famous for something – apart from being the cute hoor’s daughter.

      1. SOQ

        We don’t hop off and on bar stools here in Ireland anymore sweetie- we buy from cheap German stores and drink at home? The ‘lazy’ poor do not persue most of these claims, rich people do.

        Compo culture is, in the main, by those who can afford to take a case in the first place- like politicians.

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          1. ‘sweetie’? That’s not very gender-neutral language.
          2. The bar stool was a metaphor for claimants stating they are unable to work a non-physical job yet have no problem with mobility in social settings or doing 10k runs and the like.
          3. Compensation claims are usually taken on on a ‘no win no fee’ basis which means everyone has access to a solicitor who will assess the insurance claim for its viability.

  5. Dr.Fart MD

    to add insult to injury (pun intended), she will keep her position. and keep being re-elected. as we saw in the local elections, people either don’t care, remember, or havent heard, of what our policians do. they just vote the status quo blindly. nothing will ever change in this country. unless… well.. maybe .. maybe ol’ Dr.Fart might get into politics… hmm. .. food for thought

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Aren’t you of better use in Medicine?
      Plus look what happened to George Lee’s career when he took the plunge.

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        yea, Lee was completely used to make the party popular, and then not used for his actual economical know-how. But.. I wouldn’t go through the regular path to politics. See, what i think this country needs is.. well, not a dictator, but kind of one, but me. I need to stage a sort of coup. Take gov. by force. If I could mobilise enough people, the army only has about 9k soldiers. Anyway, early days yet.

    2. rotide

      You should definitely go into politics, I’m sure the many many people who didn’t even come close to getting their deposit back in these elections can help you when you realise that saying you’re a doctor on a blog doesn’t actually make you qualified in anything

        1. Brother Barnabas

          dont mind rotide, dr fart – gets cranky at this time of the day

          you stay strong for all of us

  6. martco

    apparently Bertie was on PR FM on Sunday morning

    He offered some alternative possible maybe gibberish around the swing saga and lauded the Bailey family to extensive radio nodding

    Figures

  7. Lash me

    So nasty and bitchy – regurgitating unreferenced internet sources to kick someone when they are already the subject of public ridicule- they call it gutter journalism for a reason

      1. Mickey Twopints

        Not to mention that Ms. Bailey has fully earned the ridicule, fair and square.

      2. Lash me

        By whom! The Irish Times? The Indo? They’re hardly credible sources. We just had a whole article describing some idle gossip on a Wikipedia page that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bailey wan herself. This is tabloid stuff. Further all of those “allegations” about Bailey as Frilly says – were known about years ago. Irrelevant tittle tattle. Grow up FFS

    1. TheQ47

      Untrue.
      They are all referenced separately, if you have a look at the Wikipedia page, you’ll see that all of the items mentioned have separate references:

      1. The “fake endorsement letter incident” is referenced here: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/row-in-fg-over-phoney-official-vote-plea-26292958.html and here: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ahern-s-running-mate-criticises-late-ff-move-1.1207393

      2. The “golf club” incident is referenced here: web.archive.org/web/20100411082145/http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=THE+INSIDER-qqqs=themarket-qqqs=computersinbusiness-qqqid=47757-qqqx=1.asp

      3. The “Legal action over candidate selection” incident is referenced here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/miriam-lord-s-week-1.919896 and here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/fg-candidate-selection-court-challenge-settled-1.838129%3Floc%3Dinterstitialskip (behind paywall)

      4. The “undeclared donations from developers” are referenced here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/councillor-returns-donation-found-to-be-above-legal-limit-1.633657 (behind paywall) and here: http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2010/aug/15/fine-gael-councillor-refuses-to-discuss-political-/

      5. The “fake newspaper endorsement” is referenced here: dublingazette.com/news/councillor-apologises-for-gazette-mock-up/
      and finally

      6. the Dublin Hurlers’ revolt is referenced here: http://www.independent.ie/sport/dub-hurlers-refuse-to-play-amid-claims-of-intimidation-25978856.html

      1. Lash me

        By whom! The Irish Times? The Indo? They’re hardly credible sources. We just had a whole article describing some idle gossip on a Wikipedia page that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bailey wan herself. This is tabloid stuff. Further all of those “allegations” about Bailey as Frilly says – were known about years ago. Irrelevant tittle tattle. Grow up FFS

      1. Lash me

        The Irish Times? The Indo? They’re hardly credible sources. We just had a whole article describing some idle gossip on a Wikipedia page that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bailey wan herself. This is tabloid stuff. Further all of those “allegations” about Bailey as Frilly says – were known about years ago. Irrelevant tittle tattle. Grow up FFS

  8. broadbag

    No mention that her father is unfortunately on death’s door and clearly only ran so as FG can co-opt his seat when the inevitable happens, a disgustingly cynical stroke by any standards.

  9. Bebe

    Thanks Eamonn for informing us. I don’t live in Dublin and did not know any of this which now goes a long way to adding substance to the story and Maria’s sense of entitlement.

    If it wasn’t so serious I’d roll around laughing !
    I never heard of her before the swing episode and really listened following SOR interview. Was surprised to learn she was accompanied by PR expert to studio – via Philip Boucher Hayes on twitter. One wonders what his role was?

    Keep doing what you do guys – thanks Eamonn.

  10. rotide

    “Then it turns out that Maria Bailey is a second cousin of Simon Harris, the minister currently taking on the task of wrecking the Irish Health service in the interests of privatisation; and though they are said not to be close, the relationship illustrates the small world of the Irish elite. They are in a sense, our 1%.”

    Shame you had to ruin your good job of paraphrasing a wikipedia page with this biased nonsense

    1. Dr.Fart MD

      oh yea? and what has she done since being a TD, that has benefitted the public?

      1. Boutros Gladius

        Well, she’s staunchly pro-abortion so she’s saved numerous of them the bother of being born.

  11. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

    Christ lads
    If ye wring this story out any more
    It’ll be running its own race on Sunday’s Mini Marathon

    Btw
    If anyone in Dublin didn’t know who Bailey’s Da was and weren’t familiar his years of I’m a Hurling Man talk and his carry on as Fine Gael Councillor
    Then d’ye know wha’

    Ye don’t get to complain about Francie’s 59 thousand 1st Prefs
    Or get to cry on behalf of Maurice McCabe
    And point the finger at the Voter with accusations of Short Memories

    Like I’d say the Phoenix has John Bailey archives going back to the early 90s

  12. SOQ

    Anyways, I have a date with a mechanical engineer from Recon who has constructed a non squeak swing with assured comfort padding. I need to check if that sort of thing is approved by the Monaghan FG membership of course.

  13. Truth in the News

    Surely the Standards in Public Office have a role here, to ensure that all things that
    members of Oireachtas come into contact with will not cause them injury, in fact
    there needs to issued to some of them specially designed protective gear that
    they can wear lined with cotton wool with an outer exterior consisting of Kevlar.

  14. Kolmo

    It’s like the Dalkey version of the Flynns…a self-entitled peasant-minded grab-all.

  15. Boutros Gladius

    Well, she’s staunchly pro-abortion so she’s saved numerous of them the bother of being born.

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