Tragic deaths: the Dunne family

A potentially explosive report into the tragic deaths of the Dunne family in Monageer, Co Wexford, has sat on the desks of various government ministers since it was completed six months ago, and may never be published in full, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

A spokeswoman for children's minister Barry Andrews confirmed that, while both he and health minister Mary Harney have read the report, a date has not yet been set for it to be published.

This is despite the fact that the report, which was held up due to legal concerns over defamation, was sent to the government in October of last year.

The revelation has prompted Fine Gael to call for the report to be published in its entirety immediately, if necessary through the use of parliamentary privilege, by placing it before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Adrian Dunne (29), his wife Ciara (24) and their two daughters Leanne (5) and Shania (3), were found dead in their home two years ago this month. It is believed that Adrian Dunne killed his family and then took his own life.

The discovery was made three days after the family had visited an undertaker to arrange how the couple and their children should be buried. It emerged that authorities had been made aware of a possible risk to the safety of the children.

The inquiry had been tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding the Dunne family's death, and to look at how well the various public and other bodies cooperated with each other. It was also instructed to make recommendations about how such a tragedy might be avoided in the future.

It was chaired by barrister Kate Brosnan and is thought to have included a recommendation that an out of hours emergency social work service be established.

Andrews' spokeswoman declined to release a copy of the report to the Sunday Tribune, saying it "will be made available when arrangements for publication have been finalised".

"Both Minister Andrews and Minister Harney have read the report," she said.

"[Minister Andrews] has indicated his determination to publish as much of the report as is possible."

But this would be done following a "legal determination", she said.

Fine Gael health spokes­man Dr James Reilly TD, accused the government of "sitting on" the report.

"This was obviously a terrible tragedy, but the question is was it preventable?" he said. "I fully respect the rights of a person identified in the report to have their good name protected. But there is a huge public interest issue here, and the inquiry has been paid for by the taxpayer.

"I would not like to see the Oireachtas used in an abusive fashion... but if for technical reasons it has to be done through the Oireachtas, then I would certainly support that."

Delegates at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors' annual conference in Athlone earlier this month reiterated previous concerns raised by them about the lack of an out-of- hours social work service for children.

Minister Andrews subsequently said a new system involving the recruitment of families to look after children would be in place in June.