Fine Gael TD Michael Creed has criticized a remark made by Hillary Clinton during her visit to Ireland as an "offensive reference" to Ireland's abortion debate.

The Cork East TD described the matter as a complex one and “one for the Irish people and their representatives to decide." He said “for that reason, I was irked by the offensive reference to the issue by the visiting United States secretary of state Mrs Hillary Clinton."

During her speech in DCU on human rights, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said global programs had been refocused to ensure the health of women and girls.

“So our starting point must be this: women’s lives matter," she said. "And promoting the human rights of women begins with saving the lives of women whenever we can.”

According to the Irish Times, Creed, who was speaking Friday during the ongoing debate in the Dáil on the expert group’s report on abortion and the European Court of Human Rights judgment, said that Ireland had an “extremely good record in terms of safety in our maternity hospitals for women and this is newsworthy because it is so rare. That is a fact that holds up to international scrutiny.”

Creed accepted there was a debate “about how those figures are constituted but they hold up to comparison with any country in the developed world, including the United States."

During the debate, Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell said she wanted what most people wanted,  “to protect the lives of women when continuing with a pregnancy would endanger their lives."

“I want the bar determining where the risk begins set as low as possible," she said.

Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan said he would "advise my single male colleagues in this House and beyond to discuss it with women before they make a final judgment on their position."