A multi-millionaire Irish construction company boss must pay his estranged wife a lump sum of about £12 million following the breakdown of their marriage, a High Court judge has ruled.
Donal Gallagher, 50, part-owner of the Galldris group, and Brid Gallagher, 44, had fought over money at a recent private family court hearing in London.
Mr Justice Mostyn, who heard that Mr Gallagher had moved to London in 1989 with “just £1 in my pocket” and worked as a labourer, has outlined detail of the case in a written ruling published online.
The judge, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has named Mr and Mrs Gallagher in his ruling and said they could be named in media reports of the case.
He said Mr Gallagher had proposed that Mrs Gallagher should get £6.6 million. Mrs Gallagher had proposed an “overall award of £18 million”.
Mr Justice Mostyn concluded she should get a package of “cash and properties” totalling £14,237,623 – including a lump sum of £12,129,209.
The judge concluded the “overall value” of their assets was about £35 million – and said Mrs Gallagher’s total package represented “40.2% of the total assets”.
He said Mr and Mrs Gallagher had run up an “extraordinary” £1.6 million in lawyers’ bills during their legal fight.
Mr Justice Mostyn said Mr and Mrs Gallagher were both from the Republic of Ireland.
They had met in Donegal nearly 20 years ago when she was undertaking a post-graduate teaching diploma and he was living and working in London.
Mr Gallagher had moved to London in 1989, with “just £1” in his pocket”, and worked as a labourer, the judge said.
Mrs Gallagher had taught at a primary school in Dublin before moving to live with Mr Gallagher in London.
They had begun living together in 2005 and married in 2008, the judge said.
“The financial history of the marriage is a story of ever-rising prosperity and ever-increasing standard of living,” said Mr Justice Mostyn.
“The business was, and is, extremely successful.”
He added: “It goes without saying that with £14,237,623 the wife will be able amply to meet her needs and that with £21,219,261 and his earnings the husband will be able to meet all of his.”
The judge said Mr Gallagher should pay the lump sum in instalments.