Flinn, Hugo Victor (1879–1943), businessman and politician, was born 8 September 1879 in Peel, Isle of Man. He was one of four children of Hugh or Hugo Flinn, wholesale fish merchant with wide interests in Ireland and Liverpool, and his wife (Mary) Kate (née Condren or Condran). The family's residence alternated on a six-month basis between Arklow, Co. Wicklow, and Kinsale, Co. Cork, according to the seasonal nature of the fish trade. Educated at Dungarvan, Kinsale, Mungret College, where he was a classmate of Eamonn O'Neill (1882–1954; later a TD), and Clongowes Wood College (1892–7), where his friends included James Fitzgerald-Kenney (qv) (also later a TD), he graduated BE from the RUI in 1899. Moving to Liverpool, he worked as an electrical engineer for Liverpool corporation. There he interested himself in Irish affairs, reading before the Liverpool Engineering Society a paper entitled ‘The coalfields and other industrial resources of Ireland’ (1901), and politically allying himself with T. P. O'Connor (qv) MP.
In 1914 he returned to Ireland and assumed the management of his father's business before joining the British army on the outbreak of the first world war. Attached to the ordnance corps, he was demobilised as a captain in 1918. On the death of his father (1919) he disposed of the family business and established himself in Cork as an electrical engineer. He also opened a shop selling radios on MacCurtain St., Cork, where rumour had it that he invented the wireless valve.
During the Anglo–Irish war he procured arms for the IRA, though he did not take part in the civil war. In the mid 1920s he was the principal exponent of the ‘no income tax’ movement, which claimed that industrial revival would result if private enterprise was relieved of the burden of income tax. Flinn was introduced into Fianna Fáil by T. P. Dowdall (qv) and became a TD for Cork city (September 1927–1943). An energetic and truculent parliamentary secretary to the minister for finance (March 1932–1943), he devoted much of his time to the relief of unemployment. On the outbreak of the second world war he was appointed turf controller (1940) and charged with the task of producing enough fuel to replace the two million tons of coal hitherto imported. To allow him to utilise the resources of the county councils, he was given the additional post of parliamentary secretary to the minister for local government. Flinn's war work was key to the state's survival and akin to the contribution of Seán Lemass (qv) and John Leydon (qv). He died 28 January 1943 in Cobh, Co. Cork, leaving estate valued at £7,053, and is buried at St Finbarr's cemetery, Cork.
He married (1921) Monica Marble Wilson (d. 1967) of Great Crosby, Liverpool. They had two sons and lived at Rushbrook Terrace, Cork, and later at Cooleen, Rushbrooke, Cobh. His elder brother was Fr Joseph Flinn, SJ, director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, and his younger brother was Thomas Condren Flinn (d. 1950), chairman of the Trade Loans Advisory Committee. His son Hugh (Hugo) V. Flinn (d. 2010) was a prominent civil engineer and businessman.