Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Foreign boltholes off-limits to Gilligan after threats

Cocky Gilligan can't flee to usual haunts as he is now the target of multiple assassination plots

JIM CUSACK

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

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John Gilligan
John Gilligan

John Gilligan will have to leave Dublin but can't move to the usual Irish gangster haunts in Spain or Holland because of a "general" threat to his life, garda sources said yesterday.

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The 61-year-old is in a poor state in James Connolly Memorial Hospital but is expected to recover from the four gunshot wounds he received last weekend when two gunmen attempted to murder him at his brother's house in west Dublin.

The usually cocky criminal is described as being worried and dejected as the realisation dawns on him that he has no future in organised crime in Dublin. He is also penniless.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that in a desperate bid to make money, Gilligan has approached a British publishing company in an attempt to have a memoir published. Gilligan is semi-literate and would require the services of a ghost writer.

It has emerged that shortly before he was shot he had turned for help to a major drugs figure whose career in crime began as a teenage "runner" in Gilligan's drugs network and a junior member of the splinter republican terror group, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

Gilligan had forged a relationship with the INLA and one of its leading members carried out the assassination of his predecessor as head of crime in Dublin, Martin Cahill, in August 1994. That led the way for Gilligan to assume control of the drugs trade in the city.

The man he approached has since become a core member of the drugs syndicate based in the Costa del Sol and Holland that supplies both the Irish and British drugs trade. This is the group that has issued the order for his murder.

Intelligence reports reaching gardai last week suggest that Gilligan has become the first Irish criminal to become the subject of multiple assassination plots. The gunmen who attempted to kill him last week are believed to be drug addicts and minor dealers who had learnt of his whereabouts less than an hour before the attack.

Gardai have warned Gilligan that his life is under continuing threat in Dublin and there is little they can do so long as he refuses to co-operate with their offers to protect him. He was spoken to on Thursday but refused to offer any information on his intentions. He was lucid but very ill from the wounds to his body and leg. He has no visible damage to his face or head but was unable to sit up or walk.

He has had three minor surgical procedures since he underwent trauma surgery on arrival at James Connolly last Saturday night. He is under 24-armed garda protection in the hospital.

His family, who are declining to make any comment, are said to be deeply concerned at their future. It emerged that Gilligan's eight-year-old granddaughter, who was in the house in Greenfort Crescent and witnessed the murder attempt, has been deeply affected.

The attempted murder took place half-an-hour after Gilligan's daughter, Tracey, with her daughter, had dropped him at his brother Thomas's house after a family social gathering in a nearby pub.

Gardai in Clondalkin held three conferences last week to discuss the murder bid but there was no indication yesterday of any arrests being planned.

Nor is there any indication that the gunmen who attacked him were linked to the previous attempt on his life, as he was drinking with his son in the Hole in the Wall pub beside the Phoenix Park in December. On that occasion a gunman on a motorcycle went to the wrong pub, the Halfway House, half a mile away, in an apparent mix up.

Since his release from prison, Gilligan has been petitioning various drug dealers in Dublin in an attempt to re-establish himself in organised crime.

However, he is blamed for causing the State clampdown on the proceeds of crime through the introduction of the Criminal Assets legislation, introduced after the murder of Veronica Guerin. Gardai and Department of Justice officials promoted the introduction of the same legislation throughout Europe.

Spain introduced the legislation in 2010 and has begun seizing the assets of foreign criminals, including those of ex-pat Irish drug traffickers. The major Dublin criminal figure, Christy Kinahan, was reported to have had property and other assets valued at up to €500m, including a luxury holiday resort in Brazil, seized by the Spanish authorities in 2012.

Other major Irish crime figures, contemporaries of Gilligan's, have moved out of Europe entirely, one believed to be living quietly in Morocco to evade arrest and asset seizure.

This man, who grew up in south inner Dublin and became one of the biggest suppliers of drugs to the British and Irish markets is still believed to be heavily involved in the importation of large amounts of drugs into Europe.

Sunday Independent

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