A FORMER city councillor paid a €1,000 cash deposit to an undercover Garda posing as a gangland hit-man to murder a Detective Garda, a Revenue Commissioner and an accountant.
Gary O’Flynn (38), a son of former Fianna Fail backbench TD Noel O’Flynn, was jailed for three years for solicitation to murder after one of his intended targets slated his scheme as "cowardly and depraved."
His father, a veteran former TD, fought back tears as he revealed in court his family were worried about his son's erratic behaviour six years ago.
"We love our son very, very much. We were very worried about him (from 2009). Our son has learned a number of lessons from recent events. We will support him 100pc," Noel O'Flynn said.
An intended target of the €10,000 'hit', Gary O'Flynn's former accountant Pat Sweeney, said: "We forgive Mr O'Flynn for putting a price on something priceless - the value and sanctity of human life."
A second intended victim, Revenue official George Ross, said his life was "turned upside down" by the plot.
Mr Ross, who is undergoing counselling and can no longer work as a Revenue auditor, revealed he now checks his rear-view mirror in case his car is being followed and also checks under the vehicle for possible explosive devices.
"I find I am constantly asking myself, what if? What if Mr O'Flynn had successfully contacted someone else to carry out the murders? What if my family were present when the killer called? Would they have been harmed by him? What if, as one of my neighbour's children said to her father, the killer called to the wrong house? What if? I was just doing my job" he said.
The third target, Det Sgt Mary Skehan, said she found the plan "unbecoming of a man of his professional training."
But the brave garda refused to allow the threat to change her personal life or her career.
O'Flynn of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork hatched the plan in a desperate bid to frustrate a garda investigation into a mortgage fraud he had engaged in involving up to €693,000 from Bank of Ireland.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard the bank only sanctioned the three re-mortgages of O'Flynn's Cork properties on the basis of false documents including Revenue assessments and a P60.
The garda probe was launched when it was realised the documents submitted were fake.
The mortgages are now being repaid on an interest-only basis and the court was told there is no idea what loss, if any, the bank will suffer.
When O'Flynn decided to have the trio killed, the plot only came to light when a friend was so worried he contacted the gardai.
Officers under Det Supt Sean Healy set up an elaborate 'sting' operation involving a Dublin-based detective who posed as "a highly recommended" assassin as well as installing detailed protection regimes for the three targets.
Judge Sean O'Donnabhain jailed O'Flynn for five years with two suspended as he described the offences as "particularly heinous" and having brought "shame on himself and his unfortunate family."
A tape recording of O'Flynn talking about the murder plot revealed: "Revenue are going to be bamboozled if something happens like this."
Another tape heard the former politician say he would have no regrets if the trio were "disappeared and out of my life. It wouldn't bother me at all."
O'Flynn had conducted searches on his computer about murdered gardai.
The court heard that, after paying a €1,000 cash deposit to the hit-man in a Cork hotel on February 15 2013, O'Flynn panicked and tried to withdraw from the scheme.
Gardai said O'Flynn never co-operated with their investigation and, before the murder plot, made repeated unfounded complaints to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) about the officers involved including Det Sgt Skehan.
O’Flynn, a qualified solicitor, financial advisor and former Cork City Council member, pleaded guilty to six charges in relation to mortgage theft.
He also pleaded guilty to three solicitation to murder charges contrary to Section 4 of the Offences Against the Persons Act, 1861 relating to dates between October 1 2012 and February 15 2013.
All three charges involved an address on the Mallow Road in Cork.
O'Flynn apologised to the court and the three targets for his "insane and demented" behaviour.
He vowed to recover from his psychiatric problems.
O'Flynn has a total of 17 previous convictions including fraud and public order offences as well as possession of a knife.
Judge O'Donnabhain was told O'Flynn has a history of psychiatric issues and lived "in a fantasy world".
His "reality contact is impaired".