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Family tragedy in Wexford April 24, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

My blood is boiling the more I read about the tragic story that has unfolded in Monageer, Co.Wexford over the last few days. Innocent children are dead and in my opinion, there was enough evidence to perhaps prevent this happening … more I’m sure, will unfold over the next few days …

On Friday last the Dunnes drove to New Ross to an undertakers where the husband priced coffins for himself and his family. Presumably seeing that they were still alive and well at the time, the undertaker became suspicious and contacted the Gardaí. The Gardaí, who couldn’t just barge in and ask what he was doing pricing coffins, passed the query on to the wonderful HSE and were in contact with their Child Care manager. She (the childcare manager) advised the Gardaí that the family should contact Caredoc – an out of hours GP service – if they “had concerns” about something medical and referred them to section 12 of the Childcare Act if they felt the children were at risk. Lovely ! No action, just a hand off … and the people they handed the case off to – our seemingly infallible Gardaí – did not call to the house until Saturday, by which time the damage was done. They drove past the house alright, but didn’t call in ! Who, on the ground, acts on these matters ?

What sickens me is the lack of any sort of apparent procedure for dealing with pretty much feckin’ anything in this appallingly organised so-called first world country. If the best we can do is to refer a family in trouble to an out-of-hours GP service, when an undertaker (fair play to him) has alerted the authorities to something terribly strange, then how the forefathers of this republic must be rolling in agony in their graves with the shame of it !

A similar thing happened in 2005 when a woman, again in Wexford, called Sharon Grace drowned herself and her two kids in the River Slaney after finding out there was no help available because it was a weekend. The processes are just not there. What is in place to deal with these cases is a nothing procedure. A nothingness that leads to the complete abandonment and death of vulnerable people … a nothingness. Who, on the ground, acts on these matters ?

It seems the first reaction of anyone contacted about anything along these lines is to pass the problem on to someone else. Why is the correct procedure for emergencies and risk cases not drilled into every man, woman and child in the country. If not the HSE that looks after these problems, then who ? Who in Ireland is charged with the responsibility of maintaining a proper 24-7-365 emergency, help and support service aimed at catching risk cases and incidents like this ?  Who, on the ground, acts on these matters ?

God forbid, next Friday evening, if I suspected (as that undertaker did) that something untoward and terrible was about to happen to a family I knew, who would I contact and what would they do ? Who, on the ground, acts on these matters ?

We’ve all sucked our teeth and said “Oh that’s terrible” this week when we heard about this story – but by next week it will be old news because we as a nation couldn’t care less because it was someone else this happened to. Thank God we didn’t have to call for a social worker in the middle of the night and felt like ending it all because there wasn’t someone we could talk to ! I know it’s not completely the government’s fault that people die like this … but who then ensures that it never happens again if it’s prevantable; if people get as many clues or alerts as they did this week in Wexford.

If I could borrow a headline from one today’s red tops – “The undertaker warned the Gardaí, the priest visited the home, Gardaí told the Health Board … still they all died !”



1. Bernd - April 24, 2007

I totally agree – it is a disgrace! Mind that this happens in one of the richest countries in Europe.

By the way – the HSE has enough money top shove a pamphlet on how to talk to youir child into every letterbox as we speak (even mine, I don’t have a child). This helpfully points out that any problems will be dealt with on a nine to five basis. Contact the Gardai at other times.

Makes me want to puke!

2. Rambling Man - April 24, 2007

yes we got one too bernd – what a waste of money … an election stunt. still as far as the politicians are concerned they’ve done and are doing a great job, nobody is ever wrong and nobody is ever responsible for anything – especially the gardai …

3. SK - April 25, 2007

I would be very careful about jumping to conclusions on this one. And I certainly wouldn’t let the red tops lead me in forming my opinions on what happened.

Wait until the inquiries conclude then decide.

4. Rambling Man - April 25, 2007

i dont think i’m jumping to conclusions really – i’mmjust upset that the services that are supposed to be there, didn’t work and there was a chance that these kids might not have died.

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