Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Mother sorry for family tragedy caused by son’s ‘murder-suicide’

The mother of a Wexford man found dead with his wife and daughters in an apparent murder-suicide has apologised to her daughter-in-law’s Donegal family.

Adrian Dunne (29), his wife Ciara (24) and daughters Leanne (5) and three-year-old Shania were found dead at their home in Monageer, Co Wexford, in April 2007.

An Irish government report last week said Mr Dunne, who died by hanging, was the “driving force” in the deaths. His wife was strangled and his daughters smothered.

It identified failings in the monitoring of the family by social workers before the tragedy — but said that even if authorities had intervened, the tragedy was unlikely to have been avoided.

Mrs Dunne, formerly O’Brien, and her daughters were buried in her family’s plot in Burt, Co Donegal. Her husband was buried in Co Wexford.

Adrian Dunne’s mother Mary told the Irish Mail on Sunday her son loved his family but struggled with debt and congenital blindness, a condition which also affected his daughters.

“Adrian was a very good, kind son,” she said.

“I do know that he loved his children and his wife. There were never two as close as they were. The children adored him.”

Mrs Dunne said she felt she must apologise to the O’Brien family.

“They’re blaming Adrian anyhow. It’s going to go down that way. I’ll never be able to believe he did it...But I have to bite my pride and say sorry to the people who were hurt. I’m so sorry for their loss.”

She said her son got into debt to finance a lifestyle for his family he couldn’t afford.

“All he wanted was the best for his family. It probably got to him.

“He was tormented.”

The report said the family had debts of €34,000, (£30,323) despite only have social welfare of €750 (£669) per week to live on.

While there was no single reason for the tragedy, Mr Dunne was affected by his father’s death and his brother’s suicide a month before his own.

Three days before the family was found dead, Mr Dunne and his wife visited an undertaker to discuss funeral arrangements.

The undertaker alerted gardai. A priest visited them but the Health Services Executive said they could not review the case until after the weekend.

The family was found dead on Monday. Inquests will be held into the family’s deaths this week.

The O’Brien family is expected to give their reaction to the report following the inquests.

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