Two young girls, a Donegal woman and her husband may have been dead in their Co Wexford home for up to three days, despite fears for their safety, it emerged last night.
The young couple, named locally as Adrian and Ciara Dunne, were discovered dead with their children, Leanne (5) and Shania (3) after a priest voiced concern.
The grim discovery was made when gardai forced their way into the house in Moin Ruain estate in Monageer, near Enniscorthy, in the Republic.
It is not yet known how Mr Dunne or his family died.
However, police have ruled out accidental death and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Gardai said they became concerned for the family on Friday and asked a local priest to visit them. The following day, officers also made contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The HSE confirmed the Childcare Manager in Wexford Community Services was contacted.
The couple, aged in their 20s, moved with their children into a newly built council house last summer.
It is believed Mr Dunne is originally from New Ross and his wife from Donegal.
The scene remained cordoned off last night as forensic teams and State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy piece together the case.
The village was in shock last night as news of the discovery filtered through the community.
Father Richard Redmond called with the family on Friday, but hadn't been able to make contact with them.
"I was concerned and I phoned the following day and I didn't get a response," he said.
He confirmed Mr Dunne's brother James took his own life in recent weeks.
Parish Priest Father William Cosgrave also tried to visit the family on Saturday morning, but got no reply.
Yesterday, the men said prayers over the remains.
"The few people on the housing estate I have met already, they were shocked and stunned, they can't believe it, right on their doorstep a tragedy of this nature," said Fr Cosgrave.
"They are standing at the doors talking to one another, trying to come to grips with what's happened."
The victims' relatives arrived at the scene this afternoon, comforting one another while the bodies remained in the house.