John Gilligan's Jessbrook will be dismantled as sale a no-go
The Jessbrook equestrian centre built by drug lord John Gilligan in Co Kildare is to be bulldozed from the landscape after the current owner said he has encountered a series of problems since buying it.
James Buckley transformed the centre, which had been lying idle for years after it was seized from Gilligan by the Criminal Assets Bureau, but recently decided to sell.
However, despite great interest in the newly-named Emerald International Equestrian Centre, set on 56 acres in Mucklon, near Enfield, he could not sell it as a going concern because of outstanding planning issues with Kildare County Council.
He now intends to dismantle the structure, which he bought in May of last year, and sell it.
His plan would then be to return the site to agricultural land and either sell it too or work it.
"We have had several inquiries from outside Ireland since the property was put on the market from individuals wanting to buy the building alone," said Mr Buckley.
"The size of the 3,000-seat indoor arena, at 60,000 square feet, with a 70-metre-wide open span and 120 metres long, makes it an incredibly valuable building for a variety of uses," he told The Irish Field.
"Large buildings like this are taken down and transported to new locations all the time and that is now what will happen to Emerald. I am disappointed that Ireland now looks set to lose what is probably the largest indoor jumping arena in Europe.
"I love the sport myself, and this was never my intention when I bought it to sell it on, but I am now left with no choice."
A source told the Herald: "He could get up to €5m for the building and equipment. It might be the best way to maximise a yield from the site."