Press Release

Publication of the Redacted Report of the Monageer Inquiry

Mr Barry Andrews, TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today published the Redacted Report of the Monageer Inquiry. Speaking at its publication, Minister Andrews said: ‘The Dunne and O’Brien families marked the second anniversary of the tragic deaths of Adrian, Ciara, Lean and Shania Dunne only three weeks ago. The publication of this report today will stir raw emotions and sorrows. Our sympathies and thoughts go out to them at this difficult time’.

‘The purpose of publishing this report into the tragic deaths of the Dunne family in Monageer, Co. Wexford is not to sate public curiosity but to make public the inquiry findings as to whether the deaths of this family could have been prevented and to share the learning from the report with professionals working with children and families. This tragedy would appear to be another example of the recently recognised phenomenon of extended suicide or familicide,’continued Minister Andrews.

The Minister went on to say: ‘The Government was fully committed to publishing this report, cognisant that a delicate balance had to be found between protecting individual rights and the sharing of knowledge with health professionals and the wider public. If the publication of this report facilitates greater awareness of the needs of families and improves the response of service providers, then it will serve a very useful purpose’.

The report highlights that the Dunne family accessed a number of HSE delivered services from hospitals, general practitioners, public health nurses, early intervention teams and other social work services. ‘Some of the issues raised in the inquiry report relate to coordination and integration of these services and the identification of a family with particular needs and the response to those needs. For this reason, I am pleased to acknowledge the new proposals unveiled by the HSE last week to support a more integrated health and social care system. The plan is to put in place a post under a National Director for Service Integration to address the service needs of children and families across the HSE. This is the first time that such an appointment has been made in respect of health and social services for children. Coordinating these services in order to provide an integrated multidisciplinary solution with good communication and clarity of roles and responsibilities goes to the heart of the recommendations of the Monageer Inquiry Report,’added Minister Andrews.

‘Much attention will focus on the absence of an “out of hours” social work service in Wexford on the weekend of April 21st – 22nd 2007. Whilst I acknowledge the need to provide out of hours services across the country, a key finding of the Inquiry reads: “that even if the Gardai or Social Services had called to the Dunne family home during the course of the weekend, it is likely that the tragedy would not have been averted”,’continued Minister Andrews.

The Minister outlined a series of recent initiatives aimed at improving services to children and families, which include:

  • From June 2009, the HSE will operate a place of safety service for children, to enable Gardai to place children in a safe environment when they have to remove children from a situation of extreme risk;
  • The HSE is putting in place a more integrated multi-disciplinary approach to out of hours services building on existing GP, acute hospital and mental health services, to ensure that people seeking services outside normal working hours can be provided with appropriate advice, information and support and in emergency situations access to specialist staff such as professionals working in the areas of mental health and suicide prevention;
  • The HSE is commencing a comprehensive review of nursing services in the community, which will cover public health nursing services as part of the HSE Transformation Programme and development of Primary Care Teams;
  • In March 2009, the HSE initiated a process, to prepare a framework for the delivery of Early Intervention Services, covering both statutory and non statutory providers, to ensure a standard and consistent approach to the delivery of such services;
  • In February 2009, the HSE established a Task Force to standardise policies and procedures for Child Protection and Welfare Services across the country, to be completed by the end of May and implemented in June. The publication of the Monageer Report will allow the Task Force to take account of the recommendations in the report in relation to Child Care Services;
  • The findings of the Monageer Report will be incorporated into Garda practices and procedures, to complement the ‘Children First’ guidelines, which provide a framework for An Garda Siochana and the Health Service Executive to deal with the sensitive area of child welfare and protection.

‘The publication of this report reminds us of the important role that individual members of society can play in recognising emerging problems and bringing them to the attention of relevant public services. I am struck by the initiatives taken by members of the local community in Wexford, who sought to highlight concerns around the Dunne family. Individual families live within local communities and the supports of the community can play a vital role in alerting public services to emerging risks,’said Minister Andrews.

The Minister noted the on-going work to develop a greater understanding of the phenomenon of familicide. To further our understanding of the complexities of this occurrence, the HSE established a group headed by Geoff Day, Director of the National Office of Suicide Prevention in 2008. The work of the group is focusing on identifying risk and protective factors and the measures that can be taken to minimise such risks,’added Minister Andrews.

‘I would like to acknowledge the work of the Inquiry Team, chaired by Kate Brosnan BL and its members Jim McHugh, Leonie Lunny and thank them for their commitment to that task and their work on this difficult and complex issue. I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the Dunne and O’Brien families. I hope that the publication of this report will lead to the improvement of services and reduce the possibility of such tragedies occuring in the future,’concluded Minister Andrews.

Anyone who is emotionally distressed by the content of this report or media coverage of the report can phone the Samaritans on 1850 60 90 90 to talk in confidence.