Widow loses case over farm transfer

No evidence offered to support duress claim, judge says

In the High Court, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley ruled there was no adequate evidence to support Bridget “Queenie” Lynn’s undue influence claim. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

In the High Court, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley ruled there was no adequate evidence to support Bridget “Queenie” Lynn’s undue influence claim. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

A widow has lost a High Court action claiming the family farm was transferred under duress in 2008 to her son, a former county footballer, who died three years later in tragic circumstances.

Bridget “Queenie” Lynn had asked the court to declare the transfer of the sheep farm and farmhouse at Ballyoate, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, by her late husband, Seán, to their son Pádraig void on grounds it was improvident and/or unconscionable and brought about by duress or undue influence.

The property, including the family home, was legally transferred to Pádraig under a young farmers’ scheme in 2008.

Pádraig (38), a former Westmeath county footballer, died tragically and intestate in December 2011 following an incident at his home.

The 51-acre farm, valued at about €1.12 million, passed to his widow, Olive O’Hara Lynn, a Health Service Executive resource worker. The couple previously lived in a house next to the original farmhouse.

Mrs Lynn claimed Pádraig had sought the transfer to him to ensure continuation of his marriage to Olive, with whom, it was claimed, he had been having difficulties.

Ms O’Hara Lynn, who lived apart from Pádraig for a time, denied that her late husband had exerted moral pressure on his mother and father to agree to the transfer and said the parents had done so with legal and financial advice.

Seán Lynn, who died in October 2013, was a co-defendant with Olive O’Hara Lynn to Bridget Lynn’s action and, prior to his death, he put in a defence alleging he had been been under duress from Padraig to sign the farm over. Dismissing both cases, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley said Mrs Lynn had not offered any evidence to support the duress claim. She also ruled there was no adequate evidence to support the undue influence claim.