Will re­veals a €60m for­tune built on the hum­ble VW Bee­tle

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Liam Collins

ONE of Ire­land’s wealth­i­est busi­ness­men, Ir­ish Volk­swa­gen heir Nigel O’Fla­herty, who died last year at the age of 79, has left al­most €60m in his will.

O’Fla­herty and his brother, Michael, in­her­ited the Volk­swa­gen and Mercedes fran­chise for Ire­land from their fa­ther, Stephen O’Fla­herty, a pi­o­neer of the Ir­ish mo­tor trade who was the first dealer to as­sem­ble the ‘peo­ple’s car’ out­side Ger­many, af­ter he ac­quired a fran­chise in 1950.

He later added Mercedes to the port­fo­lio be­fore hand­ing over the busi­ness to his two sons. They ex­panded in Ire­land and abroad, turn­ing the fam­ily com­pany, O’Fla­herty Hold­ings, into an in­ter­na­tional con­glom­er­ate, with busi­ness in­ter­ests in Ire­land, Europe and the United States.

The broth­ers were de­scribed as “the most in­flu­en­tial but least-known fig­ures in Ir­ish busi­ness” be­cause they shunned per­sonal pub­lic­ity while keep­ing it very much a fam­ily com­pany over more than half a cen­tury.

Nigel O’Fla­herty was born in 1937 and grew up in the idyl­lic sur­round­ings of the 500-acre Straf­fan House es­tate (now the K-Club) which his fa­ther had ac­quired from the French/Ir­ish Barton wine fam­ily. Af­ter his ini­tial school­ing in Ire­land, he was ed­u­cated at the English Bene­dic­tine public school, Am­ple­forth Col­lege in North York­shire, and stud­ied ac­coun­tancy be­fore re­turn­ing to Ire­land.

Af­ter their par­ents sep­a­rated, the fam­ily moved to the im­pos­ing Sher­lock­stown House, near Sallins, Co Kil­dare and fol­low­ing the death of his mother, Dorothy, Nigel O’Fla­herty took up full-time res­i­dence there.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments in the pro­bate of­fice Nigel Fran­cis O’Fla­herty, de­scribed as a com­pany di­rec­tor who died in July, 2016, left es­tate val­ued at €59,214,570.

His ex­ecu­tors were his wife Geral­dine O’Fla­herty and Dublin solic­i­tor Sylvester Riordan. He left his shares in O’Fla­herty Hold­ings to his wife, his Dublin res­i­dence in Cabin­teely, Co Dublin to his daugh­ter Lau­ren, his 200-acre es­tate at Sher­lock­stown and the house to his wife for her life­time and then to be di­vided among his five chil­dren, Stephen, Ni­cola, Karen­ina, Michael and Lau­ren.

As well var­i­ous funds to be ad­min­is­tered by his trustees, he left the residue of his es­tate to be di­vided equally among his chil­dren. By the time their fa­ther died in 1962, Michael and Nigel O’Fla­herty had qui­etly and dili­gently built O’Fla­herty Hold­ings into a multi-mil­lion com­pany with in­ter­ests in car im­port­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and re­tail­ing in Ire­land, with brands such as VW, Audi, Mazda, Skoda and Porsche. They also es­tab­lished a hold­ing com­pany in Amer­ica which has in­ter­ests in air con­di­tion­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and lift man­u­fac­tur­ing in Waco, Texas and a num­ber of con­struc­tion and plant hire firms. The fam­ily em­ploys more than 1,000 peo­ple.

WEALTHY: Nigel O’Fla­herty with daugh­ter Ni­cola O’Fla­herty

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