Michael Greaney was deeply troubled about finances

Cobh man who killed wife and injured daughter had borrowed heavily to buy properties

The Greaney family:  Michael and Valerie with their daughters Michelle and Sarah

The Greaney family: Michael and Valerie with their daughters Michelle and Sarah


Michael Greaney (53) was deeply troubled about financial matters and was concerned that he would not be able to provide for his family after borrowing heavily to buy a number of properties.

The father of two fatally stabbed his wife, Valerie (49), at the family home in O’Neill Place, Cobh, Co Cork, on Sunday.

He also attacked and critically injured his daughter Michelle (21), who underwent emergency surgery at Cork University Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be finalised today for Mr Greaney and his wife.

Mr Greaney was originally from Ballyhea, in north Co Cork, and moved to Cobh when he joined the Naval Service aged 19. His wife was from Cobh.

Violent incident

He had borrowed heavily from a number of financial institutions before the boom to purchase four properties for rental and was under considerable financial pressure at the time of a violent incident in May 2013.

He had attempted to take his own life after that incident and was detained at the Central Mental Hospital before appearing at Midleton District Court in June 2013 charged with assault causing harm and false imprisonment. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Judge Brian Sheridan remanded Mr Greaney on strict bail terms including that he reside at an address at Sandymount in Cobh where he operated a physical therapy clinic and that he remain under the care of another psychiatrist and follow his directions.

Mr Greaney continued to live at his clinic and away from his family throughout 2013 and 2014, save for a period when he was further remanded at the Central Mental Hospital for four weeks in February and March this year.

No risk In October 2014, he was allowed to return to the family home after Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin was advised in a medical report presented to Cork Circuit Criminal Court that he no longer posed a risk to his family and it would be of benefit to his mental wellbeing to return to the family home.

The HSE has confirmed that it would be carrying out a review of its involvement with Mr Greaney who was treated by a HSE psychiatrist on an outpatient basis following his discharge from court by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on March 21st after his acquittal on charges in February 2014.

‘In line with HSE standard practice for any serious incidents relating to service users, an internal review is being carried out by the HSE into the circumstances of the tragic incident that occurred.

“As is required in such cases, the Mental Health Commission has been informed,” said the HSE.

The HSE pointed out that anyone committed to the Central Mental Hospital under section 5.2 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act receives treatment and care but under the act, a court has the authority to release an individual.

Anyone affected by the incident in Cobh is urged to contact Console’s confidential freephone helpline service on 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans on 116 123.