Those of who in Ireland will have heard about the Dunne family tragedy. Others among you probably haven’t.

It has emerged that when the dead couple, Adrian and Ciara Dunne, visited an undertaker in New Ross last Friday, they ordered four coffins, headstones and a burial plot, for themselves and their daughters, Shania (3) and Leanne (5). Preliminary post mortem results suggest Mr Dunne was hanged, that his wife was strangled or choked, and that the two children were smothered.

The visit to the undertakers was brought to the attention of the Garda last Friday and the HSE on Saturday. The Garda sent a priest to assess the family’s wellbeing on Friday and he was assured by the Dunnes that they were not suicidal. No Garda member went to the Dunne home. The Garda also passed details of the case to the HSE.

And of course bloggers are blogging about it. Some are laying blame. Finger-pointing or asking why. It is almost impossible to answer the why question. For a mother and father to decide that the best thing for their children was death? It is impossible to comprehend.

This post at The Public, the Private, and Everything In Between it struck me that it could almost have mentioned the Dunnes as well.

How private should private be, and who can ever possibly take it upon themselves to turn the private public? We are living in a precarious time, a time when both spheres are bleeding into each other and the line of demarcation is wavering. There is great potential here. Either we will become a society who ostracizes even more violently those who are different from us, suspect of every quiet student who doesn’t dress like the rest, suspicious of any husband or wife who doesn’t drag his or her child to every Saturday soccer game, or maybe, just maybe, we’ll become a society responsible to something greater than ourselves

After all some commenters seem to believe that the gardaí­ should have intervened in the Dunne case and removed the family. But all they really had to go on was second hand information. It may not even have been a formal report from the undertaker. Maybe she knew the garda and mentioned it to the gardaÃí unofficially. I don’t know. But if the social services had already been there that week. If the rest of the Dunne family believed there was no danger would it really have been acceptable to traumatise children and remove them from their parents based on no evidence? With the benefit of hindsight it certainly seems that they should have. But if you didn’t know the horrible results, isn’t it possible that maybe the parents were overly morbid and worried about the family dying in a road accident?

I do however believe that the HSE need to be open over the weekend. If they had made contact on the Saturday then possibly the family could have been saved. Then again, maybe not? Whatever the outcome of the various inquiries into this event I think that we should remember JL Pagano‘s comments:

On last night’s edition I seem to recall the most telling evidence of all three hearses carrying four coffins. This tells me we should let the family grieve, and if any pressure is to be applied anywhere, it’s to those responsible for setting up a public enquiry in a reasonable yet respectful time period so our debate can be a properly informed one.

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