Gilligan describes assassination attempt as 'Halloween prank'
Former crime boss John Gilligan has confirmed that he has been officially warned by gardai about an active threat against his life.
This follows an incident in a Castleknock pub in which a raider armed with a 9mm handgun entered the Halfway House on the Navan Road looking for the gangster who was drinking with his son in a nearby bar but Gilligan dismissed this as a 'Halloween prank'.
"I just think it was a Halloween prank, I’ve no problem with anybody," Gilligan told RTE outside the Four Courts today.
"I have no fear of anybody, no problem whatsoever and I’ve no enemies.
"It’s Halloween, kids making mistakes."
Independent.ie has learned that in fact Gilligan (61) had been drinking in the nearby Hole In The Wall pub with his son Darren when the gunman entered the pub at around 4pm.
A source said: “Gilligan has been given advice but will he take it? Highly unlikely is the answer in truth.”
Yesterday a raider armed with a 9mm handgun went into the popular Halfway House on the Navan Road looking for the former crime boss yesterday afternoon.
Following the incident gardai have now formally warned John Gilligan that his life is in danger.
However, 61-year-old Gilligan wasn't in the premises and the would-be killer fled the scene on a high-powered motorcycle.
The gunman entered the pub beside the Phoenix Park, reportedly saying “where's Gilligan, where's Gilligan?”.
After searching the bar, and failing to find his target, the bungling hitman left.
He had mistakenly thought Gilligan was drinking in the establishment.
A Garda spokesman confirmed: “At 4pm, gardai responded to an incident in a pub on the Navan Road.
“A man in motorcycling gear had walked around the pub with a firearm apparently looking for someone.
“A short time later gardai tried to stop a motorbike on Ratoath Road in Finglas.
“The man discarded a firearm and fled (on the motorbike).
“The 9mm pistol is to be technically examined and investigations are ongoing.”
It is understood that the Garda's elite Special Detective Unit responded to the incident.
Plain-clothes and uniformed officers remained at the scene yesterday evening.
CCTV footage is being examined as part of the investigation.
A worker in the pub told the Herald “some fella walked in and then walked out again” but that “there was no issue”.
“I was standing in front of him when it happened. He just walked in, walked around and left.
“I didn't see any gun on him,” he added.
Nevertheless, gardai were called to the scene and subsequently pursued an individual on a motorcycle.
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.
The incident in the Halfway House took place just two days after Gilligan's estranged wife Geraldine was told to prove she is not drawing an income from her daughter Tracey's pub in Alicante, Spain.
Geraldine has taken the Department of Social Protection to court for cutting off her welfare payments.
John Gilligan was accused of ordering the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, who was gunned down in June 1996.
By Ken Foy