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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Crime lord Gilligan's seized house could be used to help homeless

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

A Dublin house seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) from convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan, who claims to be homeless, is being earmarked for social housing to help homeless families.

The Herald has learned that the CAB has approached Fingal County Council with a suggestion that it take over the property in Corduff Avenue, Blanchardstown, and use it to help ease pressure on the homelessness situation.

"Gilligan bought that house with his ill-gotten gains, and in a way, it is fitting that it be used for some social good now that it has been taken off him," said one source.

Battle

Pint-sized gangster Gilligan lost the house, along with two others, after a battle with the CAB that lasted more than 20 years.

He went as high as the Supreme Court in his efforts to keep the houses, but reached the end of the legal road in February.

Gilligan's wife Geraldine and daughter Tracey lived in the bungalow beside the already-seized Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Kildare, and his son Darren lived in the Corduff Avenue house.

A third property, at Willsbrook View in Lucan, is currently rented out to long-term tenants by the CAB.

Gilligan and Geraldine bought the Jessbrook house in 1987. In 1995, Gilligan bought the Willsbrook View house for €73,000 and it was registered in Tracey's name.

In 1996, they bought the Corduff Avenue house for €7,000 from the local authority after renting it from 1977 to 1996.

"The plan now would be to see the Corduff Avenue house go back to local authority control. No deal has been signed yet, but talks are under way," said the source.

The house on Corduff Avenue seized from John Gilligan by the CAB could be used for social housing
The house on Corduff Avenue seized from John Gilligan by the CAB could be used for social housing

A spokesman for Fingal County Council said it could not comment on the matter.

"John is now spending his time between a rented property in Roscommon and his brother's house in Clondalkin - the one he was shot in," the source said.

In March, he presented himself at council offices in Blanchardstown, claiming he faced homelessness and wanted access to the Housing Assistance Payment, which offers social housing support for those with a long-term housing need.

Gilligan, who was the head of the gang that killed journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996, suffered horrific injuries in a murder bid on March 1, 2014, when a gunman burst through the front door of his brother's house at Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin and shot him as he tried to escape into the kitchen.

He suffered a broken hip, abdominal injuries, a shot to the leg and a graze to the head, but remarkably survived the hit.

It was the second attempt on his life since his release from jail in October 2013 after serving 17 years for drug trafficking.

Just weeks after gaining freedom, Gilligan was targeted by a man who ran into a Dublin pub intent on killing him, but Gilligan was not in the pub when the would-be assassin went in looking for the gangster.

Price

There has been a lot of interest in the Jessbrook bungalow since the CAB put it on the open market in recent weeks, with more than 40 people viewing the property so far.

The seven-bedroom house with four bathrooms, on more than five acres of land, is on the books of REA McDonald estate agents in Lucan, with an asking price of €120,000.

Its website states that the house is for sale on behalf of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and was previously subject to seizure by the Criminal Assets Bureau under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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