The Department of the Taoiseach has said there was a 'misunderstanding' over the letter received by Buncrana mother Andrea Brannigan earlier today. 

Andrea Brannigan, the mother of the late Danielle McLaughlin, received a letter that prompted widespread shock today in response to a request to meet the Taoiseach during his Donegal visit next week.

Ms Brannigan had written to Leo Varadkar to seek a discussion on her daughter’s tragic case and to call for support for families bereaved by relative’s deaths abroad.

However, she received a letter from the Office of the Taoiseach today (Friday)  saying the meeting “was not possible and indeed probably not worthwhile” as the office claimed Danielle was not an Irish citizen.

The letter sparked widespread outrage, while Ms Brannigan said the secretary’s claim was false due to Danielle’s dual British-Irish citizenship.

In a response from the Department from the Taoiseach tonight, a Government Spokesperson 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.”

Speaking to Donegal Daily earlier this evening, Ms Brannigan said that, despite the letter she received, she would still like to meet with the Taoiseach next week to discuss consular support for families. Tonight’s response from the Taoiseach’s office did not address her request for a meeting.