Data commission investigates complaint from Maria Bailey
The Data Protection Commission has launched a statutory inquiry against Independent News and Media on foot of a complaint by former TD Maria Bailey.
It is understood the investigation relates to coverage of a personal injuries claim taken by Ms Bailey which became commonly referred to as ‘swinggate’.
In 2019 the Irish Independent reported extensively on the case which the then Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire took against The Dean Hotel in Dublin.
She claimed to be due compensation for injuries sustained after falling from a swing at the Harcourt Street venue while on a night out with friends in July 2015.
Her claim in the circuit court – where payouts can be up to €60,000 – alleged that the hotel was negligent because the swing was unsupervised.
It was also alleged that her injuries were so bad that she was unable to run “at all” for three months afterwards.
However, the Irish Independent subsequently revealed that she had ran a 10km race in less than 54 minutes – just three weeks after the incident.
When contacted about her complaint to the DPC last night, Ms Bailey said that she did not want to make a comment.
Likewise the DPC declined to comment while a spokesperson for INM, which publishes the Irish Independent and Independent.ie, said it “would not be appropriate to comment on an ongoing regulatory inquiry”.
By initiating a statutory inquiry the DPC puts itself in a position to issue an information notice compelling a third party to hand over specified information.
An investigator will be appointed and can exercise a range of powers including the power to inspect premises, equipment, documents and information.
There is also a power to apply to the District Court for a warrant to enter a premises in order to exercise the authorised officer powers.
After completing their work the investigator will provide a report for the DPC who must decide whether an offence has been committed.
Ms Bailey was dropped as a candidate for last year’s general election by Fine Gael after an internal party review of the controversy.
She recently claimed she could have retained her seat but was “deleted” by the party.