18 May 2023

~2 minutes read

Court hears Galway farmer referred to beneficiary of contested will as “O’ Toole the fool”

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The High Court has heard a deceased Galway farmer did not care for the main beneficiary of her contested will and called him “O’ Toole the fool”.

Peter O’ Toole, of Leagun, Moycullen, is the main beneficiary in the contested will of Margaret Hernon.

It’s claimed by relatives that this will was procured by deceit – but the claims are denied and a counterclaim seeks an order formally proving the 2006 will.

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

After her death it emerged that she had made a will in 2006.

It left the majority of her multi-million euro estate, including a significant sum of cash and land at Bushypark and Athenry, to Peter O’ Toole.

The will was made before Liam O’ Gallchobhair, an associate of Mr. O’ Toole.

But relatives of Mrs. Hernon contest this and claim she had no time for Mr. O’ Toole, and contend he has several convictions, including for fraud and gun possession.

The High Court has heard from relative Maureen Donnellan, who said since childhood, she spent a lot of time with Margaret Hernon.

She became upset as she recounted how she was a frequent visitor, particularly in her final years, and was with her when she died.

Ms. Donnellan claims Margaret Hernon had no time for Peter O’ Toole and called him “O’ Toole the fool” and “Only fools and horses”, in reference to his criminal convictions.

She further claims she spoke to Mr. O’ Toole after Mrs. Hernon’s death, and he made reference to a belief that Ms. Hernon had not made a will.

It’s alleged he asked her how she could be “so f-ing stupid as to lose everything”.

Maureen Donnellan further alleges he told her that if she helped him, she would be looked after and he had a solicitor in Dublin who could help.

This offer, she claims, came before September 2017, when it was revealed that the late Mrs. Hernon had in fact made a will before Liam O’ Gallchobhair.

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