Thursday 14 December 2017

Wife accused of affair tells husband: 'Galway village isn't big enough for both of us'

Cornamona is Margie Hanley’s ‘ancestral territory’. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Cornamona is Margie Hanley’s ‘ancestral territory’. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Brian Farmer

A mother-of-four is waiting to see whether she has won a "titanic" divorce court struggle over a €600,000 holiday house in her "ancestral territory" of rural Ireland.

Margie Hanley (56) and estranged husband Michael (60) - who lived together in Wentworth, Surrey - both want the house they jointly own in the village of Cornamona, Co Galway.

They have staked rival claims to a judge at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London over the past two days.

The judge said the couple, who also have an apartment in Florida, would split cash and assets of up to €14m.

He said they had together run up lawyers' bills of more than €800,000 on their "titanic battle" - and he described the figure as "phenomenal".

Mr Hanley, who has retired after a career with multinational conglomerate GE, told how their 33-year marriage hit the rocks after he discovered that his wife had an affair.

He has been living at the Cornamona house for the past few months and wants it to be a retirement base.

Mrs Hanley, who denies adultery, said Mr Hanley had told her that she could have the house in Cornamona and was "punishing" her.

She said her 92-year-old mother still lived there and was the oldest person in Cornamona.

"It's where I have been all my life - generations of my family... Life is full circle. It's where I started out. It's where I ended," she said.

Mrs Hanley said the house was her "backbone".

"It's like my fifth child. If I were to lose it, it would be like losing a child," she said. "It's my heart, my soul, my life."

The judge said Mrs Hanley felt that Cornamona was her "ancestral territory".

Mr Hanley said he wanted to live in the Cornamona house and denied that he was trying to hurt Mrs Hanley. He said he had "cherished memories" of Cornamona.

Mr Justice Holman heard that there had been suggestions of Mrs Hanley living elsewhere in Cornamona.

But Mrs Hanley told him: "We are getting divorced. The village isn't big enough for both of us."

Mr Justice Holman is scheduled to hear legal argument from lawyers today before making a decision.

Irish Independent

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