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Friday 27 April 2018

Family home offered an escape from hectic pace of city life

Brian McDonald

Even at the end of a week of continuing controversy, you'd be hard pushed to find anyone in Killimor who has a bad word to say about the Hanney family.

More than a few eyebrows may still be raised about the half-million-plus Carol Hanney has pocketed from the sale of her land for a new national school, but the family reputation has long been cemented in east Galway.

"Decent people...and she's no different from her mother and father before her," was the assessment of one local and repeated whenever anyone deigned to offer a view on the story of the week.

The Labour Party leader's wife returns to the village a few times each year and stays in the old family home just a short distance from the two-and-a-half-acre site earmarked for the new school.

And he often accompanies her as they escape the hectic pace of political and management life in Dublin for the more relaxed ambience in Killimor.

Door to door from Corbawn in Shankill to Killimor is now just under two hours, thanks to the M6.

Though her mother died more than 10 years ago, and her father 10 years before that, it is easy to see why Carol Hanney retains the family home. Here is where she grew up, an only child. When it came to leaving the village to find a secondary school, it was only a stone's throw down the road to Portumna and Marie Regina Convent.

Her dad, Bernie, was an insurance broker and worked hard at the business, earning the trust and respect of a large clientele in east Galway. Her mother, Bernadette, was ever-present in the family home and there are extended family members still living in the area.

Carol was popular and bright and made her way to UCG in the early 1970s. It was there she met Eamon Gilmore, a native of Caltra, also in east Galway.

Both became active in the Students Union and took the reins of power -- he as president and she as secretary -- in 1974. They married within a few years of graduating.

Note: For those unfamiliar with Killimor and, in the interests of avoiding the faux pas that has surfaced more than once on the broadcast media this week, the correct pronunciation is Kill-Eye-Mor. And not Killy-More as one commentator insisted on calling it this week.

Irish Independent

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