Tragedy has struck again in the mid Wexford area. Following the death of a family last year through a parental suicide, the same has happened another family. This is most disturbing.

How can such instances be prevented in future, where innocent partners and children are brought to a premature death by a parent.

The psychiatric services are not getting the resources they should receive.

As mentioned on TV during the week, there are no places in hospitals for persons mentally ill on an emergency basis. The move to community treatment has led to this, but sometimes people need to be put into hospital.

In Britain, people who are dangerous to others can be sectioned, but not so here, as our laws are different.

People at risk through the mental illness of another party are not being protected. New laws are passed offering greater rights to those suffering from mental illness. But sometimes this can work against what was originally intended, as these parties can affect the lives of others in a serious way.

The state and psychiatric services may have to intervene more if they feel that a family or young children are at risk. It should be easier for families to seek help if they think a parent has lost control of their minds and not allow fate take its course.

GPs may have to become more vigilant and refer on more cases. An inquiry could be held to see perhaps how such tragedies could be avoided in the future, although that is easier said than done.

Parents killing children is a dreadful crime. Children deserve better protection when the parent is mentally ill or out of control.

In the last Wexford case it was said that the lack of availability of a social worker at the weekend meant that there was no intervention after a parent had ordered coffins for the children from an undertaker.

Again the issue of not having staff available around the clock was raised. Could there be a situation where there is someone on call centrally, even by telephone, for people who need to talk to someone and who are badly in need of help. The Samaritans carry out such a service on a voluntary basis and do great work.

For this Clonroche case the possibility of intervention may have been less easy. Nevertheless, something must be learned from such cases. Depression is a dreadful illness and appears to be the cause.

The current systems are not adequate, but as one expert pointed out this week, these cases are hard to predict. More vigilance is needed among professionals who come in contact with people, to see if there are any early warning signs.

Stresses of business and debt in the modern world, added to depression, can have big effects. We would hope that news of this event may alert people who are in some trouble to seek some help and not hurt others.

A review of current laws on mental health should also be considered, as the rights of other parties and society at large have to be considered more than they are at present.