Ex-councillor on hitman charges

Gary O'Flynn (centre) is brought into Cork Court this morning. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Gary O'Flynn (centre) is brought into Cork Court this morning. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 00:00

A former elected representative of Cork City Council appeared before Cork District Court today charged with soliciting a person to murder a Revenue official, an accountant and a detective garda.

Gary O'Flynn (37) of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork was charged with soliciting a named person to murder accountant Patrick Sweeney, Revenue official George Ross and Det Garda Mary Skehan. The alleged offences occurred between October 1st, 2012 and February 15th this year.

On Sunday night gardaí got directions from the DPP to charge Mr O'Flynn having arrested him three days earlier.

Defence solicitor Joe Cuddigan applied for free legal aid and handed a certificate of means in to the court. Mr Cuddigan told Judge Malone that the accused was entitled to free legal aid.

In evidence to Judge Leo Malone Gary O'Flynn stressed he had absolutely no income from the date of the hearing.

"I have no savings, my wife owns the house, I have no car, I have no property abroad. I have a business but I am self employed. I have no savings in joint accounts."

Mr O'Flynn agreed to furnish his bank accounts at the request of the State. The State applied to see these bank accounts.

A bail application was made in the case. Inspector Billy Duane, on behalf of the State, vehemently opposed bail saying the accused had properties abroad and was likely to abscond.

Inspector Duane said his personal experience of the accused was that he was of the means to fund previous legal representations on other matters.

Det Sgt Denis Lynch said he was objecting to bail on the basis of the seriousness of the three charges before the court. "Soliciting someone to murder is one of the most serious charges in the State and carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison."

The second objection made by Det Sgt Lynch was based on the nature of the evidence obtained in support of the charges.

"There were statements made by witnesses accompanied by CCTV. Money was handed over by Mr O'Flynn to an undercover member of An Garda Siochána," he said. "My belief is that he (O'Flynn) was caught red-handed."

Det Sgt Lynch also expressed his concern about the possibility of interference with prosecution witnesses as gardaí allege that Mr O'Flynn previously looked up the land registry in order to obtain the address of Garda Skehan.

He also said he was worried about the possibility of Mr O'Flynn absconding given that he has travelled to the UK and Mexico in recent months.

Mr Cuddigan said his client had no difficulty with having a geographical exclusion zone from named individuals. He also stressed that his client would be prepared to agree to signing on conditions, curfews and refraining from contacting individuals related to the case.

Legal aid was granted in the case pending the submission of bank statements by Mr O'Flynn. Bail was denied in the case. Mr O'Flynn will appear before the court again on Wednesday. 

Gary O'Flynn was a city councillor in Cork from 2004 to 2008 when he resigned citing work commitments. He is the son of retired Fianna Fáil TD Noel O'Flynn who represented Cork North Central. His brother, Ken, is a sitting city councillor in Cork.