Ouch: Maria Bailey resigns from chairmanship of Oireachtas ethics committee

I’ll be honest, I spent a good ten minutes trying to think up a good “swing” joke to greet this news with, and I came up short. “Swings and Roundabouts” was about the best I managed, and that’s just lame. I suppose you can’t have someone who’s now associated, rightly or wrongly, in the public mind with insurance fraud in charge of politician’s ethics.

I wonder who’ll get the job now? Where’s Bertie when you need him, eh?

In all seriousness, I find it hard to get the energy to condemn her.

She’s had a very tough year – her beloved father, Cllr. John Bailey, died earlier this year, shortly after Deputy Bailey swung into the headlines.

And then the Taoiseach, who has, remember, stood unconditionally behind various ministers who have wasted, literally, billions of euros, on projects like the children’s hospital and the public services card, decided that Deputy Bailey was too much of a liability to remain in her committee chairmanship.

Yes, insurance fraud is a serious offence. But the people happiest that it’s in the headlines are, remember, insurance companies, who have been using it as an excuse to hike premiums for years.

In fact, if you haven’t seen it, this clip of Pearse Doherty TD exposing the “fraud is what’s increasing premiums” lie from earlier in the summer is well worth your time:

Anyway, back to Deputy Bailey. She’s now got a real battle on her hands to hold her seat. Fine Gael hold three out of the four seats in Dun Laoghaire – a hangover from the fact that it was a three-seater at the last election because Sean Barrett TD was re-elected automatically as the outgoing Ceann Comhairle. FG will surely run three candidates again, and are likely to lose at least one, if not two, of those three seats. Being scandal tainted isn’t a good look in that most image-conscious of constituencies.

It’s worth remembering in all of this that Bailey didn’t break any laws. She didn’t waste any taxpayer money. She didn’t, in fact, do anything that half a dozen other chancers don’t do in the four courts every hour of every day. Her crime was to do it while in office.

It’s funny, isn’t it, what we voters decide to care about.

Anyway, here’s her letter of resignation. She is, let’s face it, probably finished.





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