19 May 2023

~2 minutes read

Court hears beneficiary of Galway farmers contested will under Garda investigation

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The High Court has heard that the main beneficiary of a Galway farmer’s contested will is being investigated by Gardaí for alleged fraud.

Peter O’ Toole, of Leagaun, Moycullen, has also been served with a revenue bill from the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Margaret Hernon was predeceased by her husband and cousins, and had no children.

When she died, she left behind a multi-million euro estate, including lands at Athenry and Bushypark, as well as cash.

Almost everything was left to Peter O’ Toole according to a will made before Liam O’Gallchobhar, an associate of Mr. O’ Toole.

But relatives contend Mrs. Hernon had no time for Peter O’ Toole, and called him “O’ Toole the fool” among other things, in reference to his criminal convictions.

They claim the will was procured by deceit – these claims are denied and a counterclaim seeks an order formally proving the will.

The High Court has heard the DPP had decided that no prosecution is to take place regarding complaints made over the will purportedly made by Margaret Hernon.

But Detective Garda John Kerrigan said a decision is being awaited from the DPP on another file in relation to another complaint made against Mr O’Toole by the late Peter ‘Bunker’ Lydon.

He was a bachelor farmer, aged in his 80’s, who had claimed that he was never paid for lands he owned in Kingston, Galway that he sold to Mr O’Toole.

Garda Kerrigan said that an aspect of the investigation centres around the lodgement €1.5m by Mr O’Toole in January 2019 to the benefit favour of Mr. Lydon, who was in a nursing home at the time.

Within a few days a sum of over €1.4m was drawn from Mr. Lydons account by cheque.

Detective Garda Kerrigan said Mr. Lydon, who has since passed away, was not able to read or write.

The High Court also heard that the revenue wing of CAB has served Mr O’Toole with a tax demand. ]

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