24 May 2023

~2 minutes read

Dispute over will of a deceased Galway city farmer settled out of court

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A dispute over the will of a deceased Galway city farmer has been settled following out of court talks.

Relatives challenged the will which left the bulk of Margaret Hernon’s multi-million euro estate to another relative, Mr Peter O’Toole, who has criminal convictions for offences including fraud.

The parties agreed that half of the estate is to go the main beneficiary, while the rest is to be divided among over 40 other children of Mrs Hernon’s first cousins.

The case had been heard in the High Court, with those bringing the claim saying the will was made before a solicitor alleged to be an associate of the main beneficiary.

It’s alleged they saw a “golden opportunity” when Margaret Hernon died in 2017 – a claim denied by both parties.

Margaret Hernon of Bushypark was an only child and when she died, she had no children, and was pre-deceased by her husband and her first cousins.

She left a valuable estate worth over €2.5m, including a farmhouse with an adjoining 13 acres of land.

The bulk of that had been left to Peter O Toole, of Leagaun, Moycullen, whom the court heard is being investigated by Gardaí for alleged fraud.

Several months after her death a will – purportedly executed in 2006 by Mrs Hernon before a now retired solicitor Liam O’Gallchobhair of Highfield Park – surfaced.

It was alleged that Mr O’Gallchobhair was not the late Mrs Hernon’s solicitor, she did not know him, and that he was a close associate of Mr O’Toole – those claims were denied.

Following out of court talks, the court heard that as part of the agreement half of estate is to go to Mr O’Toole.

The other half will be divided among the 40 or so cousins of the late Mrs Hernon, excluding Mr O’Toole.

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