15 November 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A former Fianna Fail Senator and Chairman of Monaghan Co Council is beginning a prison sentence after his conviction by the Circuit Court on an extortion charge.

Francie O’Brien, of Latton, Castleblayney received a three-year custodial term, with the final year suspended, after entering a guilty plea on a charge that he demanded €100,000 with menaces from a Department of Agriculture vet, Michael Heelan at Tullyvaragh Lower, Carrickmacross on April 13, 2012.

Mr O’Brien, who held a Seanad seat from 1989 to 2011 and was a long-serving Mid-Monaghan representative on Monaghan Co Council, was told by Judge John O’Hagan at Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court in Co Leitrim on Tuesday that he had breached the trust of his community by actively participating with blackmailers against a Department official in what was “an abominable scheme”.

Two other people are due to stand trial in connection with the incident.

The 70-year-old, who wept when he was led from the dock to commence his sentence, told the court that he was ashamed of what he had done.

A prominent figure in the agricultural community whose family farms 300 acres, the former Senator also ….

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