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Driven businessman behind country's tallest building

MICHAEL O'Flynn is a self-made businessman whose development company transformed Irish cities and towns during the Celtic Tiger era.

A keen GAA and rugby fan, he is described by friends as determined, loyal and driven – but is also noted for his single-minded determination to defend his interests.

It emerged earlier this month that Mr O'Flynn was one of three property developers who are receiving annual salaries of €200,000 from NAMA because their firms are attracting overseas equity investment.

Until Ireland's property market collapse, Mr O'Flynn ran one of the most successful development firms in the State.

His operations largely focused on his native Cork, though he had interests in the UK and Europe.

Mr O'Flynn's firm helped create EastGate on the outskirts of Cork city adjacent to the Jack Lynch tunnel – as well as recreating the town centre of his native Ballincollig following the sale of the former Murphy Barracks by the Defence Forces. This involved the development of a successful shopping centre.

He also developed Ireland's tallest building, the 81m Elysian Tower, in Cork city centre.

The tower was completed in late 2008 at a cost of over €150m but, because of the property crash, has remained largely unoccupied.

A local hostelry is named 'The Idle Hour' – leading Cork wits to dub the development the 'Idle Tower'.

In 2008, District Court action erupted between Mr O'Flynn and his brother, Larry, over a dispute about land between their two homes in Kilcrea outside Ovens, Co Cork. The protracted action was eventually resolved.

Mr O'Flynn is also noted for his charity work and was heavily involved with the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, in drawing up plans for a €49m transformation of the former Farranferris Seminary site in Cork into a training and education campus.

Irish Independent