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All recommendations of Monageer Inquiry must be implemented – Ó Caoláin

12 May, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for the full implementation of all the recommendations of the Report of the Monageer Inquiry. He said it is "alarming" that the Minister of State or Children Barry Andrews in launching the report refused to accept the first and most important recommendation for a State-wide out of hours social work service.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"In commenting on this Report I extend continuing sympathy to the families of Ciara Dunne (nee O’Brien), Adrian Dunne and their children Lean and Shania who died so tragically in their home in Monageer, County Wexford on 23 April 2007.

"It is of great concern that sections of this Report’s Conclusions and Recommendations have been deleted by the Minister of State before publication. No adequate explanation has been given for this and the Minister of State should publish the Conclusions and Recommendations in full.

"The most important thing now is to learn what lessons can be learned and apply them in order to help prevent another such tragedy. It is accepted that even if all the requisite services had been in place and if different procedures had been followed this tragedy may not have been averted. But the Report makes conclusions which identify very serious gaps in services which remain and which must be addressed urgently.

"It is of huge concern that the Report concludes that a fundamental problem has been the State’s failure to provide an out of hours social work service to assure a response to all serious child protection and welfare concerns.

"Therefore it is essential that the Government implements the first recommendation of the Report which is that a national out of hours social work service be provided.

"In launching the Report Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews claimed to acknowledge the need for such a service but then said its provision ‘would not be the best use of funding’. The Minister of State is refusing to accept and implement the most important recommendation. Instead he has offered an ill-defined review and reconfiguration of existing HSE services.

"While this Report focuses on one terrible tragedy, there were three other such suicide/murder tragedies in Co. Wexford in the past four years yet there is till no 24-hour social work service provision in that county or in any other county." ENDS

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