NewsCrime Desk

Attempted murder suicide veteran was "hounded by debt collectors"

Michael Greaney with wife Valerie
Michael Greaney with wife Valerie

The family of a man at the centre of a murder-suicide have revealed he was hounded by debt collection agencies and financial institutions within weeks of being released from the Central Mental Hospital (CMH).

A brother of Michael Greaney (53) called for a special moratorium on such debt issues, to protect vulnerable people trying to recover from serious mental health problems.

Kevin Greaney also blamed years of underfunding within Ireland's mental health support system for the 2014 tragedy that has left their family heartbroken.

His parents, Michael Senior and Maureen, and his sister, Margo, said they are haunted by what happened.

Michael Greaney, a Naval Service veteran, was admitted to the CMH in Dublin after he attempted to kill a teenager and then take his own life in 2013.

He was admitted under Section 5 (2) of 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.

In December 2014, a short time after being allowed back to his family home in Cobh, Co Cork, Mr Greaney fatally stabbed his wife, Valerie, before taking his own life.

He also stabbed his eldest daughter, Michelle (21).

The brave young woman managed to escape the property and has since recovered from her injuries.

Kevin Greaney said he didn't want any other family to suffer their heartache - and believes hard lessons urgently need to be learned.

Michael Greaney, was a trained physiotherapist but his Cobh business ran into problems when he expanded shortly before the economic crash.

"Part of Michael's problem was that he insisted on treating people who couldn't afford to pay him," Kevin said.

"He'd treated them in the good times and wouldn't turn his back on them in the bad times. That's how kind a person he was. But it broke him in the end."

The family also said that they were horrified to learn that, following his release from the CMH, he was actively pursued by debt collection agents acting for several financial institutions.

Kevin Greaney said he believed the Government should now look at offering some type of temporary court protection to people if they have serious mental health issues.

"How an earth can a man who was treated in the Central Mental Hospital for something as serious as happened in 2013 be chased by debt collectors just a few weeks after he was released?" he said.

"It just isn't right."