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Thursday 21 September 2017

Guerin family's horror as brazen thug Gilligan begs council for a home

Convicted drugs dealer John Gilligan’s attempt to get help from the council in finding a home has been slammed by Jimmy Guerin, the brother of murdered journalist Veronica
Convicted drugs dealer John Gilligan’s attempt to get help from the council in finding a home has been slammed by Jimmy Guerin, the brother of murdered journalist Veronica

Brazen criminal John Gilligan wants taxpayers to house him and has begged the council for a home.

The convicted drug dealer last month lost his long- running legal battle to hold on to three properties and now says he could soon be left without a roof over his head.

The Herald understands the pint-sized thug presented himself at council offices in Blanchardstown last week in a bid to get housed.

Gilligan (65), whose gang killed journalist Veronica Guerin 20 years ago, wants access to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) which offers social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need.

Last month, the crime lord lost a Supreme Court appeal in which he challenged proceeds of crime orders in relation to some of his assets.

Seize

The five-judge court ruled that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is entitled to seize three properties linked to Gilligan, including the Jessbrook equestrian centre in Enfield, Co Meath.

Gilligan has been living in the grounds of the centre in recent months, but the CAB is understood to be preparing to seize it on the back of the court judgment.

Other properties owned by his former wife Geraldine, daughter Tracy and son Darren were also found to be the proceeds of crime.

Hours after the court had ruled, the CAB served notice on Gilligan and members of his family to get out of their homes.

In a remarkable twist, it has emerged that Gilligan went into a council office in Blanchardstown last Tuesday to ask about his entitlements from housing officials.

Under the HAP scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly, with the tenant making a weekly contribution based on their ability to pay.

Gilligan is believed to have raked in millions during the 1990s when he was flooding the country with drugs.

The thug fought tooth and nail to hold on to the remnants of his empire, but the Supreme Court judgment was hailed as a significant victory for the CAB.

He spent 17 years in prison for drug trafficking and is widely believed to have ordered the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

When contacted by the Herald last night, Ms Guerin's brother Jimmy, who is a councillor in the Fingal area, said he was stunned by the development.

"I'm absolutely horrified that John Gilligan would approach the council to seek access to housing," he said.

Mr Guerin said he will try to block any assistance being offered to the gangster and hopes other councillors will support him.

A housing authority can refuse assistance if it considers the person is, or has been, engaged in anti-social behaviour or if providing a house for a person would not be in the interest of good estate management.

Mr Guerin said he would find it difficult to stomach Gilligan getting assistance to find a home.

Danger

"We have a duty to residents within Fingal to manage estates. It is well-known that Gilligan is under threat, and by helping him get a house we would be putting other people in danger," he said.

"I'd find it too big a thing to swallow that after 20 years of trying to get his ill-gotten gains off him he was then handed a house."

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said they do not comment on individual clients.

Gardai believe Gilligan is also considering a challenge in the European courts to stop the CAB from seizing his assets.

The legal battle has lasted nearly 20 years and is understood to have cost the State more than €1m.

On the Fingal County Council website it says that "demand for social housing is high".

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