Former Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Noel O’Flynn was made a tribal leader in Kenya in recognition of his support of businesses at a special ceremony held recently.
Mr O’Flynn was not available for comment yesterday, but his son, Ken, who is a city councillor, confirmed that a picture which appeared on Facebook of the Kenyan ceremony was genuine.
Ken said that his father was made a “tribal chief” because he had fostered businesses in Kenya and had been connected with the country for around 20 years.
Mr O’Flynn started a family business in 1985 in Blackpool, Cork, which supplies brake and clutch parts for trucks, buses, tractors, cars, and light commercial vehicles.
Ken said his father had established a number of business links abroad, including Poland.
It is not the first honour that the former politician has received in a foreign country.
Some years ago he was given a Friendship Medal of Diplomacy by the government of Taiwan.
The medal was awarded by Timothy Yang, the Taiwanese foreign minister, for Mr O’Flynn’s “contribution to the advancement of bilateral relations between Ireland and Taiwan”.
At the time he was a member of the Ireland-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Society.
He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in the 1997 general election. He was re-elected, topping the poll, in the 2002 general election.
He was once rebuked by then taoiseach Bertie Ahern for saying that some asylum seekers coming here were “spongers, freeloaders” and “screwing the system”.
He retained his seat in the 2007 general election.
However, he didn’t contest the 2011 general election after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had asked him not to run for the sake of the party as he believed there would only be one seat for Fianna Fáil in the constituency.
Ken said that, as his father is no longer in public life, he would not be commenting on the Kenyan honour.