herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'Trying to get Jessbrook from Gilligan has gone on too long'

John Gilligan at Jessbrook
John Gilligan at Jessbrook

Senior politicians have criticised the presence of gangster John Gilligan at a house that the Criminal Assets Bureau has been seeking to seize for several years.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said it was "shocking" that Gilligan is still living in the house where slain reporter Veronica Guerin challenged him about his crimes.

Annoyed

Fianna Fail TD Jim O'Callaghan said it was irritating to the Irish people that Gilligan has been able to live in a property beside his former Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in County Kildare.

The politicians made their remarks after Irish Independent crime journalist Paul Williams angrily confronted Gilligan at the property.

The journalist's TV3 documentary, State of Fear, airs tonight and tomorrow night at 10pm.

Gilligan was the boss of the gang that murdered Sunday Independent reporter, Ms Guerin in 1996. He previously assaulted her at the property when she attempted to interview him about his life of crime.

Gilligan has fought a legal battle against the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) for almost two decades to hang on to the house. The gangster is reported to be considering taking the case to Europe if he loses a Supreme Court appeal.

Mr Howlin said his Labour colleague Ruairi Quinn established the CAB, "to strip ill-gotten gains away from the predators who make money from drug dealing and gang crimes".

"John Gilligan was the centre of a network of evil," he said. "That he remains living in the house where Veronica Guerin confronted him about his crimes will be shocking to most right-minded people."

Deputy O'Callaghan said the process of trying to take the property from Gilligan has "gone on too long".

Insult

"It will be a source of annoyance and irritation to the Irish people that 20 years after John Gilligan's properties at Jessbrook Equestrian Centre were frozen by the State, he is still able to reside in one of those," he said.

"CAB must be relentless in pursuing the proceeds of crime."

Mr O'Callaghan said efforts to seize the property "should be concluded promptly".

Gilligan (65) was acquitted of Ms Guerin's murder - but he remains the chief suspect. He fled Ireland in 2014 after an attempt on his life but has returned and was confronted by Mr Williams at the house recently. Mr Williams said it is a "grotesque insult" to Ms Guerin's memory that Gilligan is still living there. Veronica Guerin was shot dead in her car on June 26, 1996.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News