Wednesday 19 September 2018

Heartbroken family demand answers over murder-suicide dad

Kevin and Margo Greaney hold a photo their late brother, Michael, and his wife, Valerie.
Kevin and Margo Greaney hold a photo their late brother, Michael, and his wife, Valerie.

An independent inquiry into the HSE's handling of psychiatric treatment for a man who perpetrated a murder-suicide has been demanded by his devastated family.

The Greaney family told the Herald they are convinced that the deaths of Michael Greaney (53) and his wife and the stabbing of his daughter in 2014 could have been avoided if the Naval Service veteran had received longer residential psychiatric care the previous year.


They said they are still awaiting answers as to how Mr Greaney spent only six weeks in residential psychiatric care after trying to kill a teenager and then take his own life in 2013.

Mr Greaney fatally stabbed his wife, Valerie; stabbed his eldest daughter, Michelle (21); and then took his own life on December 28, 2014, at the family home on O'Neill Place in Cobh, Co Cork.

Michelle managed to escape and survived her injuries.

The family claimed they have been treated "with contempt" by the HSE over the past two years.

Mr Greaney was admitted to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act in May 2013.

However, he was released from full-time residential care after six weeks and spent the next 18 months effectively being treated in the community.

After his death, the HSE immediately launched a full review of Mr Greaney's care, but his family said their treatment as part of the review process has been "frustrating, confusing and insulting".

His younger brother Kevin said: "I have absolutely no doubt that Michael's death and the tragedy that happened was a direct result of the chronic under-funding of Ireland's mental health system for years."

The family was promised the HSE mental care review would take three months and that a coroner's inquest would be expedited on compassionate grounds.


"The Console charity scandal was the final straw for us. That's why we're speaking out about the under-funding of mental health services and the fact that the last government could propose cutting mental health budgets by €12m," Kevin added.

The HSE said its inquiry is continuing.

"The draft report of the HSE systems analysis investigation into the care provided to this patient is currently being prepared," a spokesperson said.

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