Couple battle for Galway holiday home in London High Court

Margie Hanley and estranged husband Michael both want house in Cornamona

 

A mother-of-four is waiting to see whether she has won a “Titanic” divorce court struggle over a £500,000 holiday house in her ”ancestral territory” in rural Ireland.

She became embroiled in the battle after allegedly having an affair, a judge heard in London.

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

They are staking rival claims at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Mr Hanley has told Mr Justice Holman how their 33-year marriage hit the rocks after he discovered his wife had an affair with a man he knew.

Adultery denied

Ms Hanley, who denies adultery, said Mr Hanley had told her she could have the house in Cornamona and was “punishing” her.

The judge has heard the couple, who are both Irish, had lived in Europe, the Far East and the United States because Mr Hanley’s work had taken him abroad.

They had built the Cornamona house about 16 years ago and had gone there for holidays and at Christmas.

Mr Hanley, who retired last year, had been living at the house for the past few months.

Ms Hanley, who still lives in Wentworth, has told Mr Justice Holman how generations of her family had lived in Cornamona village.

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,” Ms Hanley told Mr Justice Holman. “Life is full circle. It’s where I started out. It’s where I ended.”

‘Ancestral territory’

The judge said Ms Hanley felt Cornamona was her “ancestral territory”.

Ms Hanley said life was “much simpler” in Cornamona, and that the description “one-horse town” was a good one for it.

“There is one road in and one road out,” she said. “There is one shop, one pub. The doctor visits once a week.”

Ms Hanley said Mr Hanley did not really want the house in Cornamona.

She told the judge: “He is just torturing me. He is just punishing me.”

Ms Hanley said she had put 16 years’ work into the house.

“It’s my backbone,” she said. “It’s like my fifth child. If I were to lose it, it would be like losing a child.

“It’s my heart, my soul, my life. It’s where I feel safe and secure.”

She added: “He said I could have (it).”

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

He also raised the possibility of the pair, who have grown-up children, using the house at different times of the year.

Ms Hanley told him: “We are getting divorced. The village isn’t big enough for both of us.”

Press Association