Saturday 22 July 2017

Publican (72) recovering after African kidnap ordeal

Barry Duggan

NEIGHBOURS and friends of a popular publican who was kidnapped by armed men in west Africa before being rescued by police revealed their shock and relief last night.

Ger 'Flash' Mulconry, from Parteen, Co Clare is said to be recovering from his ordeal after he was abducted outside his hotel in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, on Tuesday.

The 72-year-old had just arrived in the country to assist police with their investigation into a gold mining investment scheme when the incident took place. The publican was bundled into a jeep and handcuffed before chasing police intercepted and rescued him from his captors in the western area of the city.

While neighbours of Mr Mulconry are unsure about when he will return home, all were taken completely by surprise when they learned of the incident. Most did not know what had happened to their neighbour.

"He is a popular man, always on the go. He'd be well got here and could be involved in anything -- a man of mystery," a neighbour said.

It is understood the publican became involved in a mining investment in Sierra Leone in recent years.

"Just last week, he said to me that things weren't going too well business-wise. He'd take a punt on an investment and roll the dice, but you'd never think he'd get caught up in something like this -- it's crazy," one neighbour said.

Known locally as 'Flash', Ger owns the Tailrace bar across from his large home in the Co Clare village. There was no comment forthcoming from the bar manager last night in relation to the incident.

Originally from Labasheeda in west Clare, Ger is married to his wife Marie, and has two grown-up daughters, Eve and Avril, one of whom works in Dubai as a solicitor. There was nobody at the Mulconry home yesterday.

Dealings

Ger was also previously involved in a Russian pub in Moscow. "Back then, you'd see these big Russian men around here after it -- tough-looking lads. There would be four women with every one of the men. It was like something from a film," a neighbour confided.

Locals suggested he earned the nickname 'Flash' -- which he also called his pub -- from his business dealings and driving habits.

"Christ, you wouldn't know what he'd be at. He'd have a finger in every pie," another neighbour said.

Last year, Ger underwent a major heart operation, but has recovered since.

A qualified pilot, he flew single-engine planes at Coonagh airfield on the outskirts of Limerick. He was previously involved with plant hire and sub-contracted machinery to both Limerick City Council and Clare County Council.

He was also involved in providing contract workers to an industry in Shannon and sponsored local soccer club, Parkville in the 1990s.

Local councillor, Cathal Crowe said: "I'm shocked to hear the news but relieved that he is alive, well and healthy. I am looking forward to seeing him back in Parteen."

The Clare publican reportedly lost more than €600,000 in the African investment.

He was kidnapped less than four hours after he arrived in the country to help police inquiries into a gold scam operation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was continuing to provide him with assistance.

Irish Independent

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