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Property developer looks at flying closer to home

Millionaire Cork property developer Michael O'Flynn is applying for planning permission to construct a helipad at his home in Ovens.

He joins the long list of well-heeled Irish business people who now regard helicopters a necessity for their work.

The explosion in use of helicopters and private jets in Ireland over the past few years has been a direct consequence of a buoyant economy.

Business luminaries such as JP McManus and Michael Smurfit each own Gulfstream jets that retail for about $44m (€30m), while others, including financiers Domhnal Slattery and Dermot Desmond, are separately involved in European private jet leasing firms.

For last year's Rugby World Cup clash between Ireland and England, the Warren Buffet-owned Netjets scheduled 100 private jet flights between Paris and locations within Ireland.

Helicopter use has become so prevalent at major sporting events that, during the Ryder Cup in Kildare in 2006, the K-Club was fleetingly the busiest heliport in the world.

The O'Flynn Group has assets of more than €2bn and is responsible for some major commercial and residential developments in Cork and has a number of interests elsewhere in Europe.

Last week O'Flynn Construction increased its stake in Blackrock International to 12.5pc. Blackrock was spun out of fruit company Fyffes in 2006.

Mr O'Flynn grew up at the farm in Kilcrea, Ovens, where he now lives. He won permission in 2004 to build a mansion on the land, despite objections from parties including his sister-in-law.

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