Irish News

Thursday 21 August 2014

I’m coming back to Dublin soon, cocky Gilligan tells family

Ken Foy

Published 24/04/2014 | 10:08

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John Gilligan liked to play to the cameras when he was taken to and from court
John Gilligan liked to play to the cameras when he was taken to and from court
Criminal John Gilligan leaving hospital
Criminal John Gilligan leaving hospital

ON-THE-run criminal John Gilligan has told his family he plans to return home.

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The hated gangster fled in fear of his life after being shot multiple times at his brother’s Clondalkin home on March 1.

The 62-year-old has since been recovering from his injuries in the English midlands.

Gardai were surprised to hear that Gilligan plans to        return after he recuperates simply because so many people want him dead,” a source told the Herald.

“But that is what he has told his family – he says he will be back as soon as his period of recuperation is over.”

Gilligan – looking frail and terrified– was wheeled from Connolly hospital under cover of darkness at midnight on March 17.

Flanked by armed gardai, he was escorted to Dublin Port where he fled the country on a boat to Holyhead.

Gilligan cost the taxpayer more than €35,000 in accommodation and security for the two weeks he was in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown after being shot.

While in the hospital Gilligan was operated on for injuries to his chest, abdomen and legs.

He also received stitches to a wound to his head after being grazed by a bullet in the attack following a family christening.

It is believed the shooting dead of his close associate Stephen ‘Dougie’ Moran, who was a driver and bodyguard for Gilligan, prompted the convicted drug trafficker to flee.

But in typical cocky fashion, he has now planning to return home despite there been multiple threats against his life.

No arrests have yet been made in the Gilligan shooting case and no houses have been raided as detectives still try to establish exactly who shot the notorious crime figure.

The shooting took places just months after he was released from a 17 year sentence for drugs offences at Ireland’s highest security jail in Portlaoise in October.

However officers have been working on the theory that the failed assassination attempt is linked to an incident in December when Gilligan was also targeted by a gunman.

Gilligan was not in the pub when the would-be assassin entered the Halfway House on the Navan Road armed with a 9mm handgun looking for the gangster on the afternoon of December 5 last.

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 90 seconds away from the Hole in the Wall pub where Gilligan was actually drinking – 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 high-powered motorbike driven by an accomplice and gave chase on the back roads towards Finglas.

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

Gilligan was warned by gardai that his life was in danger, but refused to engage with detectives and is claiming the incident was a “Halloween prank come too late”.

Gardai believe this gunman is a psychotic Finglas criminal who may have been helped by another thug who has since been arrested and charged with a serious offence.

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