herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Buyer tries to close deal on €120K Gilligan house

Crime boss John Gilligan and his wife Geraldine bought the house on the Kildare-Meath border in 1987
Crime boss John Gilligan and his wife Geraldine bought the house on the Kildare-Meath border in 1987

Criminal John Gilligan's former seven-bedroomed Jessbrook home could soon have a new owner after a prospective buyer came forward to hammer out a deal on the €120,000 bargain.

The property, which sits on more than five acres of land and which was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) from the convicted drug trafficker in February, was put on the market in August at the low guide guide price.

Now, after the house was viewed by more than 40 interested parties, one is in negotiations with estate agents REA McDonald in Lucan to see if they can close a deal.

"The property is under negotiation," said estate agent Fiachra McGrath, who would give no details on who was interested in the property, whether they were local or not or if they were negotiating on a figure higher or lower than the guide price.

Gilligan (65) and his wife, Geraldine, bought the small farm bungalow in the remote townland of Mucklon near Enfield on the Kildare and Meath border in 1987.

From the day they moved in, their plans for the Jessbrook equestrian centre was evident, and a thick file of planning applications to Kildare County Council began to form.

The first application the couple made was even before transfer of ownership was registered.

They wanted to demolish the existing building on the site and replace it with a two-storey house complete with sauna, jacuzzi, sun room and games room as well as five bedrooms.

Bareback

The application was made under the name of Geraldine Gilligan, who gave her address at the time as 13 Corduff Avenue in Dublin.

The Corduff property, which was retained by the Gilligans after they moved to Jessbrook, was also seized by the CAB in February, as was a third property in Lucan.

On the planning application, Geraldine Gilligan wanted an existing building on the Jessbrook site to be retained as stables.

She had long had an interest in horses. Old friends of hers remember her at the age of 15 riding bareback on a piebald pony up Loch Conn Road in Ballyfermot to meet then-boyfriend John.

The planning application failed but the Gilligans stayed, adding to and expanding the house over the years while also building the massive Jessbrook equestrian centre beside it.

The centre was the first property seized from the Gilligans by the CAB, which found a buyer for it in 2013.

The Gilligan family were left homeless after the CAB succeeded in stripping them of the properties in a battle that was fought over a 20-year period.

The family are now renting a house in Co Roscommon, while Gilligan has also been spotted spending time in Clon- dalkin and in Spain, where his daughter Tracey used to run the family-owned The Judges Chamber pub near Torrevieja in Alicante province.

REA McDonald's website says the Jessbrook home has seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and oil-fired central heating and offers "extensive views of rural landscape".

The bungalow is officially the property of Finance and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe, and the proceeds of the sale will be deposited in state coffers.

Gilligan, who served 17 years for drug trafficking and was the boss of the gang that murdered journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996, used the Jessbrook house to hide in following two attempts to murder him after he was released from jail in 2013.

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