JOURNALISTS covering the release of crime boss John Gilligan have been warned by his brother the situation could “turn nasty”.
The brother of the convicted drug baron – who was the one-time chief suspect in the 1996 murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin - said if the media continued to cover his release and subsequent celebration, the situation could "get nasty".
A media presence outside the home of Thomas Gilligan, a brother of John, had built up following his release from Portlaoise prison earlier this morning.
Diminutive Gilligan walked free from prison in Portlaoise after serving a 17-year jail term and was driven to his brother’s home in Clondalkin this morning.
A welcome party awaited the criminal with streamers, party masks and alcohol marking the arrival of Gilligan to the home.
But several hours later, when the Herald called to see if Gilligan wanted to make any comment we were told: "We're getting p***** off at this stage, and if it keeps up it's going to get nasty."
"Now it's just family time. We just want to be left alone, family time," Gilligan’s brother Thomas added.
"It's over and done with as far as we're concerned," he added.
"The family are here now and we just want to get together and have a cup of tea and this, that, and the other," Mr Gilligan explained.
"Maybe some other day, but not today. We've the grandkids and all here today," he added.
The notorious crime lord was released from Ireland's high-security Portlaoise prison shortly before 9.40am, after 17 years behind bars.
The 61-year-old walked to a waiting car inside the prison gates carrying a bag, and chatted on a mobile phone and smiled at photographers as the Ford Mondeo sped off.
Armed soldiers patrolled the rooftop above the prison entrance, barely visible through fog.
A small group of locals watched nearby, eager to catch a glimpse of one of Ireland's most infamous prisoners.