Intervention could have averted Monageer tragedy – Neville

The Fine Gael Mental Health Spokesperson, Dan Neville TD, today (Wednesday) said:

“The report on the Monageer Inquiry concludes that if the services intervened with the family on the weekend of their deaths it is ‘unlikely the tragedy would not have been averted’. I profoundly disagree with this assumption. Intervention should have taken place and the failure to complete a suicide risk assessment with Adrian Dunne had the most serious of consequences. The failure of the Government to invest in suicide prevention programmes again highlights its serious neglect in this area which has tragic consequences for so many victims and their families.

“The decision of a person to take their life is complex and multi-faceted. It is wrong and dangerous to attribute this terrible decision to one simple factor.

“A superficial suicidal risk assessment in relation to Mr. Dunne suggests a high possibility of serious suicide ideation and intention. The following when combined would lead one to such a conclusion.

  1. A young father was making detailed plans for his funeral and that of his family. This alarmed the funeral undertaker who was so concerned that the Gardaí were notified.
  2. Mr. Dunne was in mourning for his brother who took his life on the previous month.
  3. Mr. Dunne was mourning his father who died the previous year.
  4. He recently finalised his will.
  5. He and his family were socially isolated.
  6. He had intellectual and physical disabilities.
  7. The family had a high level of engagement with health and social services.
  8. He had unmanageable debts.
  9. There has been an incidence of suicide related tragedies in the Wexford area which introduces a copy cat consideration.
  10. Another brother of Mr. Dunne’s died in a car accident. He made reference to this in his conversation with the funeral undertaker. He also spoke of eight different people that had been in accidents. It is accepted that some deaths on our roads are suicides.

“This superficial suicide assessment should alert the services that here was a high level of suicide ideation and that the victim was suffering deep psychological, emotional and/or psychiatric trauma. The psychiatric services should have been immediately engaged and all the services available to save his life should be engaged. If this were so he and his family could have been saved.

“The fact that this did not happen again demonstrates the serious neglect of funding services of people in crisis and allocating resources to develop suicide prevention proposals. The fact that the Minister for State says that funding of €15 million to introduce the main recommendation of the report ‘is an issue at the moment’ demonstrates the value placed on the lives of those who are suicidal. I repeat that the decision to take one’s life is highly complex and there is no easy answer. Those who die by suicide do not intend to take their life but know of no other way to remove the deep psychological and sometimes physical pain which they are suffering. I issue my deep sympathy to family.”

Deputy Neville is President of the Irish Association of Suicidology