'Danielle's Amendment' - Taoiseach to rename victims charter after Irish woman killed in India

'Danielle's Amendment' - Taoiseach to rename victims charter after Irish woman killed in India

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has suggested that Ireland's victims charter could be renamed after a Donegal woman who was killed in India last year.

28-year-old Danielle McLaughlin from Donegal was raped and murdered while travelling in Goa, India last year.

A local man, Vikat Bhagat, was subsequently arrested and charged with her murder.

The family found out about Danielle’s death through social media and without the help of a charity would not have been able to repatriate her remains.

They sought the support of the government on several occasions but were repeatedly left disappointed.

The Taoiseach issued a long-awaited apology to Danielle’s mother, Andrea Brannigan, earlier this month after a government official previously told her that a meeting with Mr Varadkar was unlikely on the incorrect grounds that her daughter was not an Irish citizen.

Mr Varadkar held a meeting with Andrea Brannigan on 10 September, where he promised to have a representative of the Irish embassy present at court hearings in her daughter’s murder trial in India.

Furthermore, the Taoiseach recommended that Ireland’s victims charter be updated with a number of measures suggested by Ms Brannigan.

The measures include the appointment of family liaison officers, an amendment to the Victims Charter, more written information, counselling services and monitoring of overseas trials by Ireland’s diplomatic staff.

The charter is a document compiled by the Department of Justice which describes the criminal justice system from a victim’s perspective.

These updates to the charter would be named ‘Danielle’s Amendment’.

Responding to the Taoiseach’s proposals, Ms Brannigan said she is hopeful that Danielle’s Amendment is brought forward, in order to help other families in similar situations.

“I think if he carries out his promises, it will help so many people. 320 Irish died abroad last year and if it is named after Danielle it will change a negative thing into a positive, as Danielle loved helping others.”