Absent Out-of-Hours Social Services 'Fundamental Problem' in Monageer Case

Published date: 
11 May 2009

Tuesday 12 May 2009: For Immediate Release

Welcoming today’s publication of the Government’s redacted report of the Monageer Inquiry, the Children’s Rights Alliance has called for the immediate implementation of its recommendations, in particular ‘the provision of a national out of hours Social Work Service structured and resourced to ensure an appropriate response to all serious child protection and welfare concerns’.  The Alliance has long called for such a service.

In response to the report’s publication, Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, commented: “I would first like to express the Alliance’s deepest sympathies to the Dunne and O’Brien families, who will no doubt have found the publication of today’s report extremely difficult.  However, one hopes that from the tragic deaths of these two children and their parents lessons will be learnt.  

What we learnt today is that the absence of an out of hours social work service was identified by the Inquiry Team as ‘a fundamental problem’.  It is telling that their first recommendation was the need for such a service.  

We have also learnt today that we need to strengthen our social work, health and Gardaí services for children and families, and that these services need to be co-ordinated so that problems can be identified.  It is this identification and response that will ultimately lessen the risk of preventable child deaths.  Disjointed services must be a thing of the past, if we hope to stop these tragedies from happening again.  

It is extremely disappointing that almost a quarter of the Inquiry’s recommendations have not been made public.  It is hard to learn when you don’t know what the lesson is.  If it is not possible for legal reasons for the remaining recommendations to be made public, then they must be communicated to all those with responsibility for implementing them.

Finally, the Alliance has been calling for some time for the establishment of an automatic and transparent Child Death Review mechanism – absent from our system at present.  The findings of the Monageer Inquiry highlight the importance of reviewing suspicious or preventable child deaths and of making recommendations to prevent such deaths.”  

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


For interview bids and further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355
Email: carys@childrensrights.ie

Notes to Editors:

  • The Redacted Monageer Report, the Minister's speech and guidance for the media on reporting suicide are available on the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs website (www.omcya.ie)
Children's Rights Alliance