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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Gang boss John Gilligan shot four times in chest, face, hip and leg

Paul Williams, Tom Brady & Ken Foy

Published 01/03/2014 | 19:37

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CONVICTED drug dealer John Gilligan is fighting for his life after an assassination attempt this evening.

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The attack on the notorious gangland criminal occurred earlier this evening at approximately 7pm.

It is understood Gilligan was at the home of a close relative in Clondalkin, Dublin.

It is believed that Gilligan was planning to attend a family christening at a nearby pub, and stopped at his brother's home in Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin beforehand.

Two men called to the home, knocked on the door, and somebody answered.

The men then entered the home to locate John Gilligan. It is believed he had fled to the bathroom where he was shot a number of times.

Upon finding him, they shot at him a number of times.

The scene tonight at the house where Gilligan was shot. Inset: Gilligan at the same house when he was released last October
John Gilligan leaving the Four Courts
John Gilligan leaving the Four Courts
Gilligan lifting weights in prison.

It’s believed Gilligan was shot four times, and sustained injuries to his face, chest, hip and leg.

He was shot once in the chest – but the bullet missed his heart and lungs.

A source said he was shot once in the face, which “took a chunk out of the forehead”.

He was shot in the hip, and it’s believed the bullet may have travelled into the stomach.

He was also shot in the leg.

The two men fled the scene in a car, for which there is no description. Gardai in Ronanstown are investigating.

Paramedics were called to the scene at 7.05pm and rushed him to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown.

It is understood he was "able to talk" to paramedics while they were treating him. His condition has been described as "not life-threatening".

Gilligan had been warned that his life was in danger in recent weeks.

It is understood he had repeatedly refused to engage with gardai who warned him that his life was in danger.

Since Gilligan's release from Portlaoise Prison on October 15, gardai have been on high alert over possible assassination attempts.

The gangster had spent 17 years behind bars on drug trafficking offences.

He was accused of ordering the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, who was gunned down in June 1996.

He was cleared of her murder in 2001 but Brian Meehan, a member of Gilligan's gang, was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for her murder.

Gilligan was released from prison on October 15th last to scenes of celebration at the home of his brother in Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin.

But just weeks later in early December, an attempt was made on his life.

Tonight's shooting comes just a week after it was reported that a criminal behind that botched attempt on Gillilgan's life in was in danger.

The "credible threat" against the Finglas criminal had come from Gilligan and his associates, gardai believe.

On December 4th, Gilligan escaped with his life after a would-be assassin entered the Halfway House on the Navan Road looking for him.

Fortunately for Gilligan, he was in a different pub nearby.

It is understood gardai recently received intelligence that a convicted armed robber in his 30s -- who gave Gilligan a savage beating in prison in 2008 -- was behind the botched murder bid.

Gilligan and his associates got word that he was behind the botched hit and they were understood to be aiming for the reckless criminal who is also suspected of being involved in a vicious stabbing outside a pub in Finglas last November.

A senior source explained: "Detectives from Ballymun Garda Station have given him an official warning about an active threat against his life.

"It is believed that this threat is coming from the Gilligan side -- he has had previous death threats against him as well from other criminal elements because of his continued involvement in serious criminality and feuding."

The criminal was previously handed a jail sentence for an armed robbery in which he pointed a loaded gun at gardai.

It was while serving this sentence that he first met with and clashed with Gilligan in jail.

Sources believe he agreed to the hit after being offered "a huge whack of cash" but because he did not murder Gilligan, he has not been paid.

He was previously closely associated with Kevin Ledwidge, a 27-year-old Finglas criminal who was shot dead in July, 2007.

It is believed the criminal who agreed to murder Gilligan was supported by a gang of north-inner city gangsters who had intelligence that Gilligan met his son Darren in the Hole in the Wall pub beside the Phoenix Park several times a week.

They deployed a surveillance team to watch the premises and Gilligan was observed going into the pub after 12.30pm on December 5. Another spotter was sent to Jessbrook to confirm the intelligence.

The spotter spoke to Geraldine Gilligan at Jessbrook, posing as a reporter and asking her husband's whereabouts. She said that he was not available, but did not believe the caller was a member of the press.

Detectives are working on the theory that the man was making sure that Gilligan was not at home so that the murder attempt could go ahead.

Shortly before 4pm on the day, the armed robber, wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying the Luger, burst into the Halfway House on the Navan Road -- which is only minutes away from the Hole in the Wall -- and started shouting "where's Gilligan?"

He ran through three bars looking for his target before fleeing when he realised the notorious criminal wasn't there.

Gardai spotted the man trying to make his getaway on a motorbike driven by an accomplice and gave chase on the back roads towards Finglas.

The would-be assassin threw the Luger away on the Ratoath Road, but the bike was too powerful for the squad car and escaped.

Gilligan was warned his life was in danger, but refused to engage with detectives, claiming the incident was a "Halloween prank come too late".

Irish Independent

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