The Government has confirmed it paid compensation to a woman who had to travel to Britain for an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.

The compensation, which reportedly amounts to €30,000, was paid to Siobhan Whelan in acknowledgement of a UN Human Rights Committee decision issued in June.

The UN committee ruled Ireland's abortion laws violated the rights of Ms Whelan and ordered the State to compensate her and provide her with psychological treatment, which the Government said it has done.

The Committee also said Ireland was obligated to take steps to prevent similar violations occurring in the future by amending its law on voluntary terminations.

This was the second time in a year that the UN Human Rights Committee has criticised Irish abortion legislation after ruling in favour of Amanda Mellet in June 2016.
 
Commenting on the decision, Ms Whelan said: "The Human Rights Committee's decision this year on my complaint - in which it recognised the human rights violations I faced - was immensely important for me.

"I am very glad the Government has now taken steps to acknowledge the Committee's decision by providing reparations to me and I am grateful for this recognition.
 
"However, for me, the most important aspect of the Government's obligation is to ensure law reform so that other women no longer have to suffer in this way.

"This is why I took my complaint to the Human Rights Committee and I hope it will not be long before our laws are changed so that women like me can be given the best possible care at home."
 
In June the UN committee ruled in favour of Ms Whelan, who was prohibited from accessing a medical termination in Ireland in after learning her pregnancy involved a fatal foetal impairment.

Ms Whelan and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy but experienced difficulty in obtaining information about services in the UK and sending records to a hospital there.

In January 2010 they travelled to Liverpool for the termination leaving their 20-month-old son with relatives.

Three weeks later the baby was cremated and the ashes sent to her by courier.