Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach to apologise to murder victim’s mother after passport mix-up

Danielle McLaughlin was raped and murdered in India last March.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to apologise in person to the mother of an Irish woman who was raped and murdered in India after she was initially refused a meeting with the Irish premier because her daughter had travelled on a UK passport.

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, from Buncrana in Co Donegal, was found dead in a secluded spot in Canacona, an area of Goa popular with holidaymakers, in March last year.

Her mother requested a meeting with Leo Varadkar to discuss how families could be better supported when a loved one dies abroad.

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Ms McLaughlin had travelled on a UK passport (Family handout/PA)

But Andrea Brannigan said she was told by Government officials that it was “probably not worthwhile” as her daughter was not an Irish citizen.

The distraught mother was advised to contact British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

In a statement, the Department of Taoiseach said officials “incorrectly concluded” Ms McLaughlin was a British citizen as Ms Brannigan said she was travelling on a UK passport.

The statement said: “The Taoiseach is aware of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Irish citizen Danielle McLaughlin, and extends his deepest sympathy to Danielle’s family.

“The letter received by the Department of the Taoiseach from Danielle’s mother indicated that Danielle was travelling on a British passport, leading officials handling the matter to incorrectly conclude that Danielle was a British citizen.

“This was the basis on which the office advised Danielle’s family that the matter would be most appropriately handled by the British authorities.

“Having now clarified the facts surrounding this case, the department can confirm that consular services of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have and will continue to be provided to Danielle’s family, as appropriate.

“The department sincerely regrets the misunderstanding that arose in this case.”

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Mr Varadkar will meet Ms McLaughlin’s mother on a visit to the north-west of Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Varadkar is expected to meet Ms Brannigan on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting comes during a visit by Mr Varadkar to the north-west of Ireland.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning during a visit to an engineering plant in Donegal, Mr Varadkar said he will take the opportunity to apologise in person.

“I look forward to meeting her this afternoon, my department has already issued an apology in writing but of course I’ll take the opportunity to apologise in person for the error made in my department,” he said.

“I’ll also obviously take the opportunity to offer my condolences on the death of her daughter and to hear from her about her experience and talk about what assistance we can give her.”

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