Wednesday 23 January 2019

Varadkar apologises to mother of murdered Danielle in person at 'very helpful and constructive' meeting

Victim Danielle McLaughlin
Victim Danielle McLaughlin
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologised in person to the mother of Danielle McLaughlin, the young woman murdered in India last year.

Andrea Brannigan had sought a meeting with the Taoiseach to discuss her daughter's killing. However, she was referred by his officials instead to the UK government for assistance.

A staff member in his office wrote to Ms Brannigan's saying the meeting was "probably not worthwhile" as Danielle was not an Irish citizen.

Ms McLaughlin (28) held dual Irish and British nationality. She was born in Scotland but grew up in Buncrana and was travelling in India on a British passport when she was killed in Goa. A 24-year-old local man, Vikat Bhagat, is currently on trial and is accused of raping and murdering Ms McLaughlin.

Speaking last night, Mr Varadkar said the meeting with Ms Brannigan and her daughter Jolene had been "very helpful and constructive". He said: "I offered my condolences to them on Danielle's tragic death. I also apologised for the error my department made with respect to her citizenship.

"She gave me several examples of how the Government could better assist her and other families in similarly difficult circumstances, including the appointment of family liaison officers, counselling services and monitoring of overseas trials by our diplomatic staff.

"I agreed to follow up on these matters and a contact person has been assigned to her in the Department of Foreign Affairs."

Irish Independent

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