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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Best friends, 2 Irish men marry to avoid inheritance tax on house

This was the first marriage for Matt Murphy, an 83-year-old who befriended Michael O’Sullivan, his now husband who over the years eventually became his carer.

world Updated: Dec 23, 2017 12:42 IST

IANS, Dublin
Matt Murphy decided on the marriage in order to save his new husband an enormous inheritance tax bill on the house.
Matt Murphy decided on the marriage in order to save his new husband an enormous inheritance tax bill on the house. (AFP File Photo/Representative image)

Two heterosexual Irish men married in Dublin to avoid paying 50,000 pounds inheritance tax on a house, the media reported on Saturday.

Best friends Matt Murphy and Michael O’Sullivan decided to get married when they discovered how much tax would have to be paid on the house Murphy, 83, intended to leave in his will to O’Sullivan, 58, who is his carer, reported the Guardian.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Ireland following a referendum in May 2015.

“I’ve known Matty for 30 years. We became very friendly after my second relationship broke up,” O’Sullivan, a father of three, told the Irish Mirror.

“I have been bringing Matt out in my car to various parties and all that kind of thing. He became friends with all my friends, they all loved him.”

Each man went through some tough times, with O’Sullivan becoming homeless and Murphy suffering from giant cell arteritis which affects the optic nerve.

“I stayed over with him for a while and eventually Matt said ‘Why don’t you come and stay here?’. I would go over and stay with him the odd time but never full time.”

Murphy could not afford to pay O’Sullivan as a carer. “Eventually Matt said the only way he could pay me was to leave me the house. He said he would give me the house so I have somewhere to live when he goes.”

However, O’Sullivan knew that would mean a huge tax bill and the house would have to be sold to pay it. He said Murphy “was chatting a friend down the country in Cashel, Co Tipperary, and she jokingly said we should get married. Then one night he turned around and said it to me and I said I would marry him”.

The couple got married in a former hospital on Dublin’s Grand Canal Street, followed by a meal for five at the nearby Gasworks bar, the Guardian reported.

O’Sullivan was previously married to a woman. It is Murphy’s first marriage.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 12:29 IST