Family feud erupts over two seater plane dad left in garage

October 10, 2021

A family feud has erupted after a sister claimed her brother stole her late father’s two seater plane from a lock-up on her property.

Celine Gallagher told Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal that her late father had left the plane and two popcorn carts at sheds at her property in Lifford.

The alleged incident took place at Ms Gallagher’s property on June 17, 2019.

Her brother Christopher, aged 62, was charged with burglary and burglary at 1 Post Office Street which he strenuously denied.

Ms Gallagher told the court that she had been living in New York for the past 34 years and rented out the house to a tenant, a Conor Hutton.

When she returned to Donegal each year she usually stayed in a hotel, she said.

Ms Gallagher said the family had split after her dad died in 2008 and that it took her years to get over his death but planned to sell the house.

The court was told that a lock at the premises had been removed and the property, which had been in the shed for 30 years, had been stolen.

Ms Gallagher said she had been contacted by her brother Christopher.

“I got a text from Christopher to say he took the carts and small plane but didn’t text him back,” she said.

However, solicitor for Mr Gallagher, Michael Shiel said the property including the popcorn carts had been promised to Christopher.

He claimed that the late Mr Gallagher had told Christopher, of Post Office Terrace, Lifford that the carts would like nice at his shop which he ran locally.

He added the carts had been at his client’s home for two years before they went into storage at 1 Post Office Lane.

Mr Shiel added “You didn’t dispute ownership because you knew the carts were his in the first place.”

Ms Gallagher denied this saying “My father told me he bought the carts in Belfast and sold them to my late brother Francis.

“I was in the States, I wanted no communication with my family. I didn’t want to waste my time.”

However, Judge Raymond Finnegan said that he had to stop the case.

He said “It strikes me that the State is being involved in what is a family feud and this is not the appropriate forum for this particular dispute.”

He added that Ms Gallagher may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her late father did not say to Christopher that he could have the property.

He said that unless Ms Gallagher could prove that the property belonged to her beyond reasonable doubt and not just say it was in her shed then he would have to dismiss the case.

Mr Gallagher, who was sitting at the back of the court, hugged his mother.