Doctors have been given permission to switch off a life support machine keeping a clinically-dead woman alive because she is pregnant.
In a landmark ruling, Dublin’s High Court said keeping the young mother alive would deprive her of dignity in death.
It added that keeping her alive would subject her father, partner and two young children to “unimaginable distress” in a “futile exercise”.
The panel of judges said it was in the best interest of the unborn child to authorise the withdrawal of life support in what was a “tragic and unfortunate case”.
The High Court added that it was a case of “great public importance”.
The 26-year-old was pronounced clinically dead on 3 December after suffering a trauma injury last month.
Her family had sought to switch the equipment off to preserve her dignity.
But doctors refused, fearing they might be prosecuted under Ireland’s strict Catholic-influenced abortion laws, which give the 18-week-old foetus the same constitutional rights as the mother.
Under the Irish constitution, the foetus is regarded as a citizen.