A 39-year-old former member of Cork City Council has been sentenced to prison for five years, with the final two years suspended, after pleading guilty to soliciting someone to kill a garda, a Revenue official and an accountant.

His defence council described his actions as a fantasy which he allowed to get out of control but from which he eventually pulled back.

Former Fianna Fáil councillor Gary O'Flynn, of Hayfield Drive, Whitechurch, Co Cork, pleaded guilty in February to three counts of soliciting a man to murder accountant Patrick Sweeney, Revenue official George Ross, and Det Sgt Mary Skehan of the Garda Fraud Squad at Anglesea Street in Cork, on dates between October 2012 and February 2013.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told that a friend of O'Flynn's first alerted gardaí in January 2013 to the solicitor's intention to hire a hit man to murder three people.

He believed O'Flynn was capable of carrying out the threat and feared for their lives.

He gave gardaí a tape on which he could be heard saying he had €10,000 to spend.

At this time, O'Flynn was under investigation for fraud in relation to the issuing of mortgages and all three were known to him as part of this investigation.

Gardaí led by Det Supt Sean Healy took the threat seriously.

They warned the intended targets and put a surveillance operation in place in which O'Flynn's friend introduced him in a city hotel to an undercover garda posing as a hit man and gave him a deposit of €1,000.

But during a later telephone conversation, he told his friend he no longer wanted to go ahead.

"There's no need for it, there no f**king need to proceed".

When his home and offices were searched, his computers revealed searches for "lists of dead gardaí", "murder of gardaí", and for the home address of the two state officials.

The court was told he was arrested shortly afterwards.

The court was told that he had suicidal tendencies after his arrest, has a narcissistic personality and suffers from possible Tourette's syndrome.

His depression is under control but he remains a very vulnerable person.

His father, former Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Noel O'Flynn, told the court that from 2009 they were increasingly concerned about his behaviour.

He said the family loved their eldest son very dearly and he is sure he has learnt a number of lessons from recent events. He said the family will support him 100% as they do the other members of the family.

Barrister Marjorie Farrelly said her client wanted to apologise to the court for what he called his "insane and demented rants" when he instructed his friend to find a hit man.

O'Flynn, she said, said he was in a demented way and in need of help and he apologised to his intended victims.

In their impact victim statements to the court, Revenue Commission George Ross said his professional and personal life has changed irrevocably because of what happened.

Although good at his job, he has asked to be relieved of his duties as an auditor because he no longer feels safe calling out to visit taxpayers.

Accountant Patrick Sweeney said he forgave O'Flynn for putting a price on something priceless - the sanctity of human life.

Garda Sgt Mary Skehan said she was disappointed that a man of O'Flynn's professional character would have resorted to an attempt to physically harm her in light of the fact that she was simply undertaking a professional investigation.

Describing O'Flynn as a very complex person, Judge Sean O'Donnabhain sentenced him to five years in prison, suspending the final two years on condition that O'Flynn keep the peace and good behaviour on his release.

He sentenced him to two and three years respectively on separate charges relating to fraudulently claiming commissions for mortgages and using false accounts.

All sentences are to run concurrently.