Irish Independent

Flynn: I advised SF on new party structure

BELEAGUERED trouble-shooter Phil Flynn admitted last night that he was a consultant to Sinn Fein and advised Gerry Adams and other leaders about the party's structures and future.

The former banker was given access to Sinn Fein's most sensitive secrets to prepare a report on its effectiveness before a new Constitution is presented to the party at its Ard Feis in two weeks.

Mr Flynn, who is a director of the finance company at the centre of Garda investigations into the Provisional IRA money-laundering scandal, also admitted that a senior IRA man from Belfast had been a house guest in his Dublin home.

"I did an examination of Sinn Fein's head office and the organisation's effectiveness," he told the Irish Independent.

"I started last October and went about it like any other assignment, but I didn't get paid for it."

Both security and republican sources in Northern Ireland were astonished that any outside consultant would be given access to Sinn Fein's party organisation given its close association with the Provisional IRA.

However, Mr Flynn, who was acquitted of being a member of the IRA at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in 1974 and was vice-president of Sinn Fein in the early 1980s, insists he is not a member of the party.

Said Mr Flynn: "I went about it clinically (but) issues came up. I would have liked to spend more time on it. They wanted to have new structures going forward, before a new Constitution is presented at the Ard Feis."

However Mr Flynn was adamant that he had not examined Sinn Fein's finances or personnel: "I didn't look at individuals or finance," he said.

Mr Flynn also denied reports in a Sunday newspaper that he had been associating with the notorious commander of the Provisional IRA in South Armagh, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

Said Mr Flynn: "The nearest I got to Slab Murphy was when I met him at a function some years ago."

However, Mr Flynn did admit that another republican has stayed at him home in Cabra, Dublin, three years ago but declined to give any further details.

However, a source close to Mr Flynn said that Brian Keenan, the Belfast-based former director of operations and a member of the Provisional IRA's ruling Army Council, had stayed with Phil Flynn regularly.

"Brian Keenan stayed at Phil Flynn's house when he was in Dublin being treated for cancer and Phil arranged and paid for his treatment," said the source.

Shane Hickey writes: Mr Flynn has now quit his position as non-executive director of the multimillion-euro property company Harcourt Developments.

It is the latest resignation from a series of lucrative public and private appointments for Mr Flynn since it emerged that he had a connection with a Cork finance company at the centre of the money-launder probe.

Mr Flynn is a director of Chesterton Finance, the money-lending company whose other two directors were questioned by detectives about a seizure of cash in Co Cork.

Sam Smyth

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