A "clinically dead" pregnant woman is being kept alive in Mullingar General Hospital against the wishes of her family, as doctors grapple with the legal situation regarding her unborn baby.
The shocking story is set to reignite the debate surrounding Ireland's abortion laws after it emerged the young mother - who is in her 20s and reported to be 17 weeks pregnant - has lost her own battle for life, but her child is still alive.
Independent.ie is reporting that the parents of the tragic mother have asked for the life support machine keeping their daughter and her unborn child alive to be switched off, amid suggestions that they may be willing to go to court in a bid to enforce their wishes.
If that was to transpire, the Irish state would need to represent the unborn child in a legal battle that would re-open the abortion debate.
The woman suffered a catastrophic internal injury as a result of a blood clot and was transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where the country’s leading neurosurgery department is based, a fortnight ago.
Doctors were unable to save her, but kept her on life support so her unborn baby could have a chance of life.
Sources said that following a clinical assessment, it was decided to transfer her back to Mullingar General Hospital last week.
The case comes in the wake of Taoiseach Enda Kenny moving to distance himself from the plans of Health Minister Leo Varadkar on an abortion referendum.