Daughters of deceased couple call for improved psychiatric services

Michael Greaney killed his wife and took his own life after court approved his return to home in Cobh

The daughters of a Cork man who killed their mother before taking his own life have expressed hope that shortcomings identified by a HSE inquiry into his case will lead to forensic psychiatric assistance being made available on a 24 hours basis in Cork.

Michelle and Sarah Greaney lost their father Michael and mother Valerie in an incident at their home in Cobh on December 28th, 2014.

Following an inquest into their parents’ deaths, they issued a statement on the tragedy saying they wished to thank the various services involved in their father’s care including the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin, the Cork Mental Health Unit and the HSE.

“Having gone through all of the records made available to them, it is accepted that every professional who was involved throughout Michael’s treatment acted in his best interests, doing their utmost to assist in every way possible,” the statement said. “The family acknowledge that in light of the fact that different agencies were involved, various breakdowns and shortcomings may have arisen inadvertently.”



The women's solicitor, Frank Kelleher, added that his clients had co-operated fully with a HSE inquiry into the deaths.

“The family hope that the recommendations of the HSE inquiry in identifying any shortcomings that may have arrive will be implemented in full and assist healthcare professionals in dealing with similar events,” he said. “They especially hope that relevant agencies in the Cork area have access to on-call Forensic Psychiatric assistance on a 24 hour basis.”

Mr Greaney's parents, Maureen and Michael Greaney Snr, called on the Government to provide proper funding for mental health services to ensure that similar tragedies are avoided.

“We ask the Government to act sooner rather than later and step up to its responsibilities and provide the necessary funding supports and services to help stem this awful epidemic that afflicts most counties in the country today.”

The inquest had earlier heard how Mr Greaney, who worked as physical therapist, had invested in properties but came under pressure when the economic crash happened. He was struggling with repayments and became obsessed with money when he attacked a family member in 2013.

Not guilty

Sgt Ray Coughlan said this led to Mr Greaney being charged with a number of offences including assault but he was found not guilty by reason of insanity at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in February 2014 and remanded to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.

Mr Greaney was released from the Central Mental Hospital in May 2014 on condition that he reside outside the family home and remain under the direction of a psychiatrist. In October 2014, Mr Greaney returned to Cork Circuit Criminal Court and applied to return home.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabhain heard a submission that a consultant psychiatrist had examined Mr Greaney and found he no longer posed a risk and his mental wellbeing and family life would benefit if he returned home, which was what his family wanted.

Judge Ó Donnabháin agreed to lift the condition he reside away from the family home after reading a report by a consultant psychiatrist.

Anyone affected by suicide can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Aware on 1800 804848 or the ISPCC Childline on 1800 666666.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times