Thursday 22 February 2018

Former FF TD begs judge not to jail son over fraud conviction

Gary O'Flynn at Cork Court yesterday
Gary O'Flynn at Cork Court yesterday
Former Fianna Fail TD Noel O'Flynn

Joe Leogue

A FORMER Fianna Fail TD has pleaded with a Circuit Court judge not to jail his son following his conviction for obtaining money by deception while working as a financial adviser.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain adjourned sentencing in the case of former Cork City councillor Gary O'Flynn (38), of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, until next Thursday following an emotional plea from his father, Noel.

Last month, a jury found O'Flynn guilty of 13 sample counts of obtaining €1,000 by deception from former builder Eric Higgins between December 31, 2009, and January 27, 2012.

At the sentencing hearing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Noel O'Flynn took to the stand to ask the judge not to jail his son on the grounds that he was in need of medical attention.

"I'm here to support my child, my son, and we are here as a family and as an extended family for him," Noel O'Flynn said.

He further apologised to Mr Higgins on behalf of the O'Flynn family.


He said that he had noticed a change in his son's behaviour since 2009, that Gary had suffered from depression and that he has been under medical supervision and under special watch at Cork Prison since his guilty verdict last month. He said that his son needed further treatment.

"We are here as a family to urge the court to exercise clemency to Gary," Noel O'Flynn said.

Taking the stand, Gary O'Flynn apologised for the pain and distress he caused Mr Higgins and his family and said the media coverage of his trial had been distressing for him and his own family.

"Do you not think that they have suffered because of your behaviour rather than because of the media?" the judge asked.

Gary O'Flynn said that he now wants to try and get the help he needs, which will be harder to do if he is in prison.

The court heard that O'Flynn had paid €6,274 in compensation to Mr Higgins since his conviction last month to account for all the money paid by Mr Higgins.

"It's very late in the day," Judge O Donnabhain said of the payment, adding that Mr Higgins had been put under great stress when under cross-examination during the trial.

Gary O'Flynn had taken his father's seat on Cork City Council when the ban on holding dual mandates came into force in 2003.

He in turn resigned from the City Council in 2008 with his seat going to his brother, Ken, who was re-elected in 2009 and again in last month's local elections.

Noel O'Flynn was first elected to the Dail in 1997 and served as a backbench TD for a total of 14 years.

Irish Independent

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