Bullets used in Gilligan shooting were stolen from German police
The bullets used in the attempted assassination of gangster John Gilligan were stolen from the German Federal Police.
The Irish Independent can reveal that the rounds taken from the former crime lord's body have been matched to a cache of .40 Sintox ammunition stolen from the German police a decade ago.
It is understood that the bullets were among tens of thousands of rounds which were discovered as having been stolen from police arsenals during an internal munitions audit.
The huge cache of ammunition has since been supplied to organised crime gangs and gardai say that this is the first time this particular type of bullet has been used by criminals here.
Sources have also confirmed that a Czech-made CZ 75 semi-automatic pistol was used to shoot the drug trafficker four times in the attack on March 1.
The same type of handgun, also containing stolen German police ammunition, was recovered last December after a hit team dumped the weapon following a botched attempt to murder Gilligan (62).
Gardai say that the latest discovery clearly proves that the same criminal gang were responsible for both attempts on Gilligan's life.
In December, the would-be killers went looking for the drug trafficker in the Halfway House pub near the Phoenix Park when he was actually drinking in the Hole in the Wall pub a few minutes away.
Garda have seized a number of the Czech-made pistols in recent years but this is the first time that they have found one loaded with this particular type of ammunition.
A source said: "This particular type of ammunition has not been used before in an underworld gun attack here.
"Forensic tests show that the same ammunition used to shoot Gilligan was also found in the pistol recovered following the abortive December murder attempt.
"It has been confirmed that the bullets were from a large cache of ammunition identified as stolen from the German Federal Police 10 years ago. It has filtered out into the criminal underworld and has found its way to Ireland possibly as part of a drug consignment."
Detectives remain fearful that the gunmen will again go after the gangland criminal when he is released from hospital in the coming weeks.
Ironically it was Gilligan who first imported huge amounts of eastern European guns and ammunition into this country when he moved into the drug trade in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile detectives investigating the attempted murder say they no longer believe that the attack was ordered by the criminal organisation controlled by Spain-based ex-pat Christy Kinahan. "Gilligan posed absolutely no threat to the big-time criminals. The suspects are members of a gang further down the gangland food chain," a security source said.
"He has upset a gang, who have armed themselves with a cache of weapons from eastern Europe, and they have decided that they want him out of the way." Earlier this week Gilligan was moved into a private room at Blanchardstown Hospital where he has been treated for four bullet wounds which resulted in a broken leg and a damaged bowel.
The mobster, who is being protected by armed officers, had complained that he had no privacy in the public ward where he was being treated. It is understood that he is also afraid of being photographed by the media.
Last week a newspaper photographer who snapped Gilligan while he was being moved for an X-ray deleted the picture when he was confronted by the gangster's bodyguards.
Security sources say Gilligan is sitting up in his hospital bed and is resting his broken leg on a stool beside the bed.
Surgeons attached a temporary colostomy bag to his bowel which was hit by one of the German police rounds.