Gilligan to come home in spite of gun attack fears
Paranoid former gang boss John Gilligan is spending his time in safe-houses across the UK amid fears of another gun attack.
The on-the-run gangster is recovering from his severe gun injuries and is even planning to return to Ireland, the Herald can reveal.
Sources say the notorious thug is recovering "slowly but surely" and has indicated that he may come back home by Christmas.
Next Wednesday will mark the first anniversary of his release from Portlaoise Prison where he served a lengthy jail sentence for drugs trafficking offences.
He is currently moving between safe homes in London and Birmingham.
"Even though he became a massive target for other criminals because of his bully boy antics after his release from jail, he is still brazen enough to consider coming back here," a source said.
The 62-year-old has been recovering from the injuries he received when he was shot at his brother's Clondalkin home on March 1.
Gilligan fled Ireland for the UK under the cover of darkness on St Patrick's weekend and is believed to be being looked after by family and friends in England.
The criminal, who is believed to have ordered the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin in June 1996, cost the taxpayer more than €35,000 in accommodation and security for the two weeks he was in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown after being shot.
While in hospital, Gilligan was operated on for injuries to his chest, abdomen and leg. He also received stitches to a wound to his head after being grazed by a bullet in the attack following a family christening.
Gilligan was finally wheeled from the hospital flanked by armed gardai at midnight on March 17 and escorted to Dublin Port where he fled the country on a ferry to Holyhead.
It is believed the shooting dead of Stephen 'Dougie' Moran in Lucan that weekend - he was a driver and bodyguard for Gilligan - prompted the convicted drug trafficker to flee the country for fear of being killed.
Gilligan also survived an attempt on his life when a gunman entered the Halfway House on the Navan Road armed with a 9mm handgun and shouting "where's Gilligan?" on the afternoon of last December 4.
The would-be assassin had gone to the wrong pub - Gilligan was in the nearby Hole in the Wall.
This week it emerged that the equestrian centre seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau from Gilligan will soon host its first horse show after being sold to a new owner.
Formerly known as Jessbrook, the centre has been re-named the Emerald International Equestrian Centre.
It will have its first show in mid-November with a three-day event and prize money of €52,000.
Gilligan's wife Geraldine still lives on a property adjoining the Jessbrook site, which CAB is trying to seize through the courts.
Gilligan, who spent 17 years in prison for drug-trafficking offences, bought the estate for approximately €445,000 in 1995.
The criminal then spent €1.5m renovating it.