"I am in a strange position,” said Murphy. “My hands are tied because of the confidentiality of my position."
In April of this year, O’Hara’s nephew Charlie Fitzsimons lodged a complaint with local authorities claiming elder abuse and that his aunt was being overworked. A social worker followed up with the complaint, which resulted in O’Hara dismissing the claims and signing a statement indicating that she was happy to do public appearances with Murphy as her attorney.
"There is nothing scandalous about us or our behaviour, or what we are trying to do,” said O’Hara in the wake of the accusations and following investigation.
In late May of this year, which was around the last time that Murphy spoke with O’Hara, O’Hara’s longtime family accountant Pablo O’Neill and American lawyer came to Glengarriff to check into O’Hara’s affairs.
Rumors soon began to circulate around town about Murphy, though formal accusations were never made.
However, soon after the visit, lawyers acting on behalf of O’Hara’s instructions wrote Murphy to inform her that her power of attorney had been revoked, something that Murphy has since refused to accept. She hired lawyer Frank Buttimer and plans to head for the High Court in Dublin to have her position legally clarified.
Some have questioned why Murphy doesn’t just walk away from the situation, to which Murphy says she is “honor-bound.” She plans on heading to the High Courts in Dublin with her long paper-trail to prove her innocence and reclaim her position.
Still, Murphy looks fondly on the days she spent with O’Hara as both her friend and confidant.
Murphy reminisces fondly about her and O’Hara’s frequent Friday “date nights:” “Friday nights were our date nights. Bill picked Maureen and I up at her house on Friday nights, and she got dressed up beautiful for him. She just loved Bill Murphy. I think her heart must be broken right now. She had her own little corner in Casey's Hotel. We say she's holding court," said Murphy.
"What was so nice about it was that families came in, with their children, and stopped to say hello to her, and touch her hand. Groups came down from Dublin, men playing golf, they were in there drinking their pints and they would come over and talk to her and sing to her. She spent two hours every Friday night with us in there, and she was a queen and she just thrived on it. And she called it date night."
Murphy’s stories and innocence are backed up by Frank McCarthy, who runs an accountancy practice in Bantry and serves as chief executive of the Maureen O’Hara Foundation. He is similarly perplexed by O’Hara’s statements that the actress’s “dream” for the foundation had been “distorted.”
"I met her in 2009 and I had a long chat with her,” remembers McCarthy. “If I was going to take over formulating this foundation and making sure that the foundation stones were laid correctly, I asked every question in the book of Maureen to make sure I understood her dream.”
In February, McCarthy finished a business plan—free of charge—for the Foundation, which he claims he walked through in detail with O’Hara.
“I was personally flabbergasted because there was no way I saw this coming from this business plan and two years of my work. I never saw that coming. It's out of the blue. It's like a bolt of lightning to me.”
"This is her dream and I'm involved with it two-a-half years. This is her dream,” said McCarthy.
"Maureen has spoken to me about what she wanted. Her legacy is not a museum. Her legacy is all about children," he said. "The foundation was a separate entity charged with fulfilling Maureen's dream. If we had decisions to make, I would ask Maureen."
Says McCarthy of Murphy, “I think it is disgraceful to go for trial by media. I do not believe them. I am working two-and-a-half years with Carolyn and her reputation and professionalism is impeccable.”
Similarly, other members of the Glengarriff community have come out in support of Murphy’s service to O’Hara over the years.
Mary Twomy, a retired school teacher from Bantry and long time friend of O’Hara, notes Murphy’s positive impact on the aging actress’s life: “I can see the difference in Maureen since Carolyn has taken over. I saw a massive change in Maureen's demeanour, and her quality of life. She was alive, and content and had peace of mind. You couldn't but notice the difference."
However, O’Hara’s nephew Charlie Fitzsimons, who now holds co-power of attorney for his aunt, accuses Murphy of not involving the family enough in decision making situations. Murphy insists that every decision has gone through O’Hara and her advisors, and that she has the paper records to prove it all.
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