Irish News

Wednesday 30 July 2014

'Live by the sword, die by the sword' – there is little sympathy for criminal

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 03/03/2014|02:30

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HE thinks he's a celebrity, but he's just a vicious criminal.

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That comment and others were made about convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan yesterday as the residents of a residential community spoke of their fear and anger at the shooting.

While sympathy for the victim's brother, Thomas Gilligan, was evident, it was noticeably absent for his criminal brother.

A 32-year-old told the Irish Independent: "I was hoovering when he was shot so I didn't hear the shots. But at the end of the day, those who live by the sword may die by the sword."

Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin remained closed to traffic yesterday as garda forensic teams continued their work at the bloody scene at the terraced home of Thomas Gilligan.

"I didn't know what happened until I saw all the lights outside," said the mother of one.

"There were two ambulances, the fire brigade and everything. There was about 15 garda cars. Everyone was saying John Gilligan was after being shot."

John Gilligan's brother Thomas pictured leaving Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Picture: Collins Photos
John Gilligan's brother Thomas pictured leaving Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Picture: Collins Photos
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

She had serious concerns for the safety of local children and others in the vicinity.

"People have children who are often playing out on the road until half-seven or eight o'clock. Any of them could have been hurt when the shots were being fired.

"And children could have been hit when the getaway car was speeding away. This is a nice place to live but those people just don't care.

"If he was a target, why wasn't he getting protection from the guards? But that would probably cost us millions."

She said the bloody shooting happened less than half a mile away from the place where a young local man, Dean Johnson, was shot dead near Finches pub last summer.

"Dean's family are a lovely family. And the Gilligan family have never been any trouble in the 30 years they have lived here. They're nice people and you can't paint everyone with the same brush. I feel very sorry for the family.

"People are afraid to talk but I don't want to live in fear. I couldn't get to sleep until 4am. And yet some people now think that someone getting shot is so normal.

"I suppose some people get caught up in a life of crime so that all they know is crime," she said.

She referred to Gilligan being linked with the murder of Veronica Guerin and how the murder of the crime journalist was "so very sad".

A 60-year-old married woman living nearby said: "I was in the shower when it happened. I didn't know something was wrong until I saw the garda helicopter and all the police cars coming down the road.

"But nobody has the right to shoot another person. I don't care who they are. . .We're living in an awful world. It's frightening."

Anger at what had happened was the first reaction of a 35-year-old local mother.

"The neck of Gilligan. He thinks he's some kind of celebrity but he's not. He's a criminal. He was 17 years in jail and he's after costing the taxpayers millions.

"It's disgraceful what happened. I grew up here and nothing like this ever happened when we were young. But when he got out of prison, this road was crazy. He's really disrupted the community."

A local grandmother said she was shocked by what happened but was not surprised, as she heard there were people who did not like him and who had given him "a hiding" in prison.

A 50-year-old father of three voiced his deep concern for Thomas Gilligan, his wife Marie, and their family.

He said: "I feel so sorry for them. I remember around 15 years ago when my wife was alive and we had a problem with cooking Christmas dinner. They offered us half their Christmas dinner. They're a really nice family and I'm just relieved none of them were hurt."

An 18-year-old local youth said the Clondalkin area had suffered a number of shootings in recent years so people were no longer surprised by such news. He explained: "When people hear gunshots, they don't even look out. The first thing everybody does is check Facebook."

The youth added: "Usually when there's a shooting it's a young person who's been killed. Not a 61-year-old man. I would have thought he would have gone to a different country when he got out of prison. It's what I'd have done."

Gardai continued with their door-to-door investigation throughout yesterday afternoon and evening.

Irish Independent

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