Gilmore's wife got €90,000 in second land deal last year
THE wife of Labour leader Eamon Gilmore sold a parcel of land for less than €90,000 in a private deal last year -- four years after she had sold a school site of similar size for €525,000.
Both sites were part of land owned by educationalist Carol Hanney in Killimor, Co Galway.
Ms Hanney agreed to sell a two-and-a-half-acre site to the Department of Education in 2005 for €525,000, five years after she had agreed in principle with the local school board to sell the site for €140,000. The untouched site is now valued at between €50,000 and €100,000.
The Irish Independent has also learned that Ms Hanney sold another site last year in a private sale. It is understood that a local businessman paid her "a couple of thousand" less than €90,000 for a two-and-three-quarter-acre site -- €435,000 less than the price she got from the State for the school site.
A local source said she had looked for a lot more money but was negotiated down.
Mr Gilmore's spokesman last night said he understood that Ms Hanney privately "sold a long narrow strip of waste land/incline which bears no comparison to the school site".
He said the land was later reclaimed by the purchaser.
She also received another €10,000 this year for a small add-on to the school site, after locals had dipped into a kitty they had built up over a decade of fundraising to pay for three-quarters of an acre for a hurling pitch and playground.
Mr Gilmore yesterday maintained that he was not embarrassed by the land controversy and claimed that his wife had not agreed to sell the school site before the final deal went through.
During a grilling on the 'News at One' on RTE, Mr Gilmore said the only time the school site was "independently valued" was when it was finally sold.
But when asked by presenter Sean O'Rourke if there was an earlier agreement to sell the land, Mr Gilmore replied: "No there wasn't."
A letter sent by Ms Hanney to Galway County Council confirms that she did have an agreement in principle with the local school.
The letter is contained in a planning application submitted by the school's board of management in January 2003.