Judge rules €1m from widow's will must go to Masonic charity
A CHARITY linked to the Masonic Order is to receive €1m from the will of a widow who left an estate valued at more than €5m.
Masonic Havens Ltd (MHL), a company incorporated as a charity to provide sheltered accommodation for the elderly, was decreed by Mr Justice Roderick Murphy in the High Court to be an intended beneficiary of the will of Edna O'Flynn, late of Riverside Drive, Rathfarnham, Dublin.
Mrs O'Flynn was pre-deceased by her husband Dr Bertrand O'Flynn, who died in 1996. Dr O'Flynn was a member of the Masonic Order from 1934.
In her will, after making a number of bequests, Mrs O'Flynn left the residue of her estate to five bodies. These were the Meath Hospital; the Irish Cancer Society; "the Committee for the time being of The Haven, Blackrock, for the charitable purposes of that body"; and the Rectors of St Anne's Church, Dawson Street, and of Whitechurch, Whitechurch Road, Rathfarnham, for the upkeep of those churches.
Issues later arose concerning the intended object of the bequest related to The Haven, Blackrock, and Martin Edna Marren, the sole executor of the will, issued proceedings against Masonic Havens Ltd (MHL).
In the 1980s, MHL purchased property at Carrickbrennan Road, Monkstown, on which apartments and bungalows were constructed. The project, known as 'The Haven', was funded and supported by members and friends of the Masonic Order.
In his reserved judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Murphy noted, while the correct postal address of The Haven was Monkstown, it is situated less than one mile from Blackrock. There was also no known charity operating under the name of 'The Haven' in Blackrock. The only charitable enterprise operating under that name in the area was "The Haven" project operated by MHL in Monkstown. Having analysed the evidence and the relevant law, the judge found the bequest to The Haven demonstrated general charitable intent.
He found the words "to the Committee for the time being of the Haven, Blackrock, for the charitable purposes of that body" in the will failed, on their own, to demonstrate a "non-equivocal" intention on the part of Mrs O'Flynn to benefit MHL and, in particular, the project known as The Haven, Carrickbrennan Road, Monkstown, notwithstanding certain evidence.
However, the judge said it was proper to permit the evidence of a number of affidavits as extrinsic evidence of the true intention of Mrs O'Flynn.
He said that an affidavit by the chairman of MHL David Young clearly showed the intention of Mrs O'Flynn to benefit the Masonic Haven, Monkstown.