By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — A County Leitrim woman is seeking her long-lost niece to ensure she inherits the 70-acre family farm near Carrick-on-Shannon — but a year-long search has so far proved fruitless.
Kathleen Flanagan, who’s 70, stands to inherit the farm and two houses after her brother Peter Heslin died last year without leaving a will.
However, Heslin’s nearest relative is his daughter Theresa, who he had not seen since she was a baby in Nottingham and Flanagan is hoping an extensive search will find her.
As a young man, Heslin immigrated to Nottingham, where he worked as a laborer. He married Theresa Donnelly, who died about 12 years ago, and they had one daughter, Theresa, who would now be 29.
The couple had split up and Heslin returned to Ireland in 1978. The youngest of seven children, he was left the £100,000 family farm when his older bachelor brother died.
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"I would much prefer if Theresa is found so she can now get the farm," Flanagan said. "I know it is what Peter would have wanted. The solicitor is doing his best and I have left the matter in his hands.
"If she isn’t found then I will have to administer the estate. It comes to me if she isn’t found or doesn’t come forward."
Flanagan said her brother had had no contact with his daughter since she was very young, though he always kept her photograph, birth certificate and medical card in a closet at home.
Appeals for Theresa to come forward have been made in front-page stories in the Nottingham Evening Post and the Irish Post in Britain but so far there has been no response.
"She may be married now and she may not be in Britain at all. She could be in Australia or America," Flanagan said.