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Friday 24 February 2017

Legal tussle over estate of tragic tycoon

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Documents filed in the Probate Office in Dublin have valued the assets of tragic property tycoon John O'Dolan at just €10.

The 'Letters of Administration' in the estate of Mr O'Dolan was filed last week and indicate that the documents relate to legal proceedings taken by the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and its private banking division against the late property developers estate.

Mr O'Dolan, 51, who was a central figure in a €26m deal to buy the island of 'Ireland' in the World Development in Dubai, hanged himself in a shed on lands he owned off the Barna Road in Galway on February 27, 2009. An inquest was told that he was under severe financial pressure and stress at the time.

Originally from Clontarf in Dublin, Mr O'Dolan moved to Galway to join a local auctioneering firm before striking out on his own as a property developer. He was married with three teenage children.

Mr O'Dolan was also involved with controversial senator Ivor Callaly in the purchase of a €10m development site near Clontarf in 2007, but they failed to get planning permission for an apartment project on the site. He was also involved in buying a baroque Jesuit church in Limerick for €4m, which he intended to turn into a leisure centre and spa.

Known to his friends as 'Johno', he was a colourful character in Dublin and Galway. But according to the inquest into his death, he had become "stressed and depressed" by financial worries as his property empire collapsed under a mountain of debt.

On the day of his death he drove his Range Rover to land where he stabled horses at Rusheen Bay, outside Galway city and took his own life.

"Johno oozed charisma and charm," wrote one of his friends after his death.

"He seemed to have boundless energy, he loved life."

He was the embodiment of the successful property tycoon of the era -- driving a Bentley or an Aston Martin DB, doing international property deals, and holding court in O'Connell's Bar in Eyre Square in Galway.

But as his world came crashing down he sought psychiatric help. However, it wasn't enough to save him from himself as his financial woes and the enormous pressure of lenders seeking their money back led him to take his life.

According to the document filed in the Probate Office on November 18, Mr O'Dolan -- described as a businessman of Gentian Hill, Galway -- died intestate. Solicitors acting for the O'Dolan family had advertised in the Law Gazette last year to see if he had left a will.

Other wills filed recently include.a Co Meath farmer, Sean Murray, of Summerhill, who died on March 8, 2004 and left an estate valued at €2,787,867; Pauline Boylan, farmer, Carbury, Co Kildare, €2,453,929; James Redmond Lowe, civil servant, Bromley, Kent, England, €2,236,720; Marie Higgins, shopkeeper, Ferrybank, Co Wicklow, €2,036,428; Elizabeth Moss, housewife, Falls Rd, Shankill, Co Dublin, €1,932,966; Mary Boydell, art consultant, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin, €1,360,709; Michael Beatty, mechanic, Summerhill, Co Meath, €1,269,352; Edward Comyn, barrister, Knocknacree Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, €732,011; and Brigid Daniel, a retired Lady-in-Waiting of Carnaross, Kells, Co Meath, left €143,631.

The value of wills include property, including the family home, and should not be regarded as cash amounts.

Sunday Independent

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