Comment: Former drug kingpin's world has changed utterly...and now the property he clings to will be stripped from him
It has taken 20 years. But the wheels of justice have finally ground to a successful halt and the Criminal Assets Bureau has secured its most prized target. The CAB was set up by the then government as one of a series of measures introduced in the wake of the murder of 'Sunday Independent' investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.
Its initial focus was on the assets of John Gilligan, whose gang was responsible for the murder. Gilligan was charged with the murder but was acquitted. However, he was convicted in 2001 of trafficking cannabis and sentenced initially to 28 years in prison - the longest sentence handed down in an Irish court for a drugs offence. It was reduced on appeal to 20 years.
He was released from the top security Portlaoise prison in October 2013 after serving 17 years behind bars with remission for good behaviour despite a number of encounters with the authorities, including being caught in possession of mobile phones and issuing threats against staff.