The mother of the Inishowen women murdered in India said she hopes her meeting with An Taoiseach will strengthen their campaign for justice and also help other families.
Andrea Brannigan, whose daughter Danielle McLaughlin was found dead in March 2017, will meet with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this evening during his visit to the peninsula.
Ms Brannigan was initially told, in a letter from the Taoiseach’s assistant private secretary, that a meeting would not be “worthwhile” as Danielle was not an Irish citizen. This was incorrect, as she held dual citizenship and had both an Irish and British passport, having been born in Scotland and grown up in Ireland.
Ms Brannigan expressed shock at the letter and the meeting was later confirmed, with the Taoiseach’s office apologising for what they said was a “misunderstanding.”
Yesterday evening, another letter was issued by the assistant private secretary to Ms Brannigan in which she apologised that the correspondence was “not dealt with as carefully as it should have been.” It confirmed Danielle was an Irish citizen and said it was with regret this was incorrectly stated. She apologised for the distress caused.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’, Ms Brannigan said she hoped the meeting would lead to the family getting the help they have been calling for since Danielle died, and also ensure dedicated liaisons are appointed to help families whose loved ones die abroad. She said she will also ask the Taoiseach to press for the trial into Danielle’s rape and murder to be fast-tracked. It is currently underway in India.
She hopes to stress upon him how it is important that families have someone who can guide support and help them when a loved one dies and who can act as a go-between between two countries. Ms Brannigan highly praised the local community for its support, but said she “constantly worries” fundraising money will run out and the family will be left without any representation at the trial.
She told how she has written to countless TDs and public representatives around the country, but feels like doors are being “closed” in her face.
Yesterday, in the letter from the Taoiseach’s assistant private secretary, it was stated that as Danielle was travelling on a British passport, the India authorities liaise with the British authorities regarding her case. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it would continue to support the family through its consular service and via the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.
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