Brother of family in bitter feud over business leaves €16m in will
The deceased brother of a family involved in a bitter business feud over the running of their hotel and property empire has left over €16m in his will, according to documents lodged in the Probate Office in Dublin.
Colin Flannery was the only family member who was not a director of the low-profile Flannery family’s main company, Foxfield Inns Designated Activity Company (DAC), and associated companies which own the highly profitable Flannery Motor Inn and the Imperial Hotel in Galway, the Ashling Hotel on Parkgate Street, Dublin and the Eglinton direct provision centre in Salthill, Galway. They also have extensive property in both cities.
However, Colin did hold an equal shareholding in the family company with his brothers and sisters, Kevin, Mary, Andrena and Frank.
In January a High Court judge urged that further efforts be made to mediate a dispute between the family members over the running of the company.
Mr Justice David Barniville issued the appeal when making directions for progressing proceedings brought by Mary Flannery under section 212 of the Companies Act 2014.
Her two brothers, her sister-in-law and an accountant all deny her claim that they acted in an oppressive manner infringing her rights concerning the running of Foxfield Inns DAC.
The family members are the children of the late Francis (Frank) Flannery and his wife Anne. Mr Flannery established the Flannery Motor Inn in Galway in the 1970s and bought the Imperial Hotel in Eyre Square, Galway in December, 1987 for £1m.
Their hotel and property empire made the publicity-shy Mr Flannery and their children one of the richest business families in Galway.
When Frank Flannery died in 2005, he left the business in the hands of his children, Kevin (60), Mary (59), Andrena (43), a teacher and Frank Jnr (46) a pilot. Their brother Colin, who was the third of five children, had his own business interests in Galway and did not participate in the running of the family’s hotel businesses. Kevin Flannery’s wife Sheelagh (59) is also a director of Foxfield Inns.
Earlier this year Mary Flannery alleged in legal papers that the company’s accountant, James Norton, who is the late Colin Flannery’s “personal representative”, is exerting “great power” over other family members, saying they have acted in an oppressive manner and infringed her rights in the family firm. She also claims that Mr Norton, with a registered address at Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin is acting as a “shadow director” of the family’s main business entity, Foxfield Inns DAC. He and other family members have denied the claims.
The youngest daughter Andrena Moynihan, with an address in Rathfarnham, Dublin, is not involved in the dispute and there are no complaints against her by either side. She has asked the court that she be added to the proceedings as an “interested party”.
Mary Flannery of College Road, Galway has initiated legal proceedings against her brother Kevin Flannery and his wife Sheelagh, also of College Road and against Frank Flannery of the Ladywell Estate, Glasson, Co Westmeath. She is also suing James Norton, who is the auditor and accountant of Foxfield Inns.
Mary Flannery said she was managing Foxfield Inns, which employs 180 people, for 16 years and had been involved with the business for 25 years.
She claimed that as well as his normal fees, Mr Norton was paid additional amounts, which she claimed were “a misapplication of company monies”, something which he denies. Among issues she raised in legal documents was the purchase and subsequent sale of an apartment in New York for which she says she received no proper explanation.
Before Judge David Barniville urged the parties to make further efforts to reach a mediated settlement, he was told that the dispute involved “deep personal issues”.
Mary Flannery indicated through her counsel that while further mediation was not her preferred option, she did not oppose it.
Colin Flannery, with an address at the Ladywell Estate, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath, died on January 20, 2018, leaving an estate valued at €16,161,436.