Thursday 14 December 2017

John Gilligan and family have three months to leave their homes - Supreme Court

John Gilligan pictured outside the Four Courts.
Pic Frank Mc Grath
John Gilligan pictured outside the Four Courts. Pic Frank Mc Grath
John Gilligan pictured with his son Darren, outside the Four Courts. Pic Frank Mc Grath
John Gilligan. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

Convicted drug dealer John Gilligan and members of his family have been given three months by the Supreme Court to leave their homes, one in Co Meath and one in Blanchardstown.

This is before the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) moves to sell or lease them.

The court also granted CAB its costs against John Gilligan, his former wife Geraldine and son Darren of the appeals brought before the Supreme Court by them. Costs were not awarded against Traceu Gilligan, a daugter of the couple.

Because all the Gilligans were on legal aid for the appeals, the substantial costs of those will be funded by the State.

John Gilligan pictured with his son Darren, outside the Four Courts.
Pic Frank Mc Grath
John Gilligan pictured with his son Darren, outside the Four Courts. Pic Frank Mc Grath

The court's final orders represent the end of the Gilligans' 21 year legal battle in the Irish courts over the two houses and three other properties.

The orders were made on Monday after the Supreme Court last month dismissed the Gilligans’ appeals over proceeds of crime orders made in relation to some of their assets. 

The Gilligans had claimed they did not receive a proper trial when assets were frozen by the State in 1996 and subsequent court rulings based on that decision were flawed or invalid.

The property included an equestrian centre at Jessbrook, Enfield, Co Meath, which John Gilligan bought and developed before he spent 17 years in prison for drug trafficking.

John Gilligan. Photo: Collins
John Gilligan. Photo: Collins

Other property owned by Geraldine Gilligan and children Tracey and Darren Gilligan, was also found to be the proceeds of crime.

The properties were two houses in Lucan, one belonging to Tracey, and the house in Blanchardstown belonging to Darren.

Geraldine Gilligan and Tracey, a mother of two, had sought to be allowed stay a further two years in a house described as a “cottage” at Jessbrook, Co Meath. 

John Gilligan and Darren sought a two year stay in relation to a house at Corduff, Blanchardstown, owned by Darren.

Their lawyers indicated their clients needed time to pursue social housing applications and have their names placed on the housing  list.

Counsel for Darren and Tracey Gilligan said Darren (41) is on disability benefit while Tracey is a lone parent with two children.

Tracey has an adult daughter and a young daughter at primary school, the court heard.

There was no evidence of any criminality on the part of Tracey and the High Court had found a 20 per cent interest of hers in a property in Lucan did not represent proceeds of crime, the court was told.

Counsel for John and Geraldine Gilligan, while accepting the domestic litigation could go no further, said his clients were considering a possible appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

John Gilligan is aged 64, is not yet entitled to the State old age pension and “may soon have no house to live in”, counsel said.

Benedict Ó Fhloinn SC, for CAB, opposed a two year or any lengthy stay, arguing the litigation was “prosecuted to a maximum”, had gone on for a very long time and had ultimately been found to be “unjustifiable”.

Counsel also suggested the court could consider whether the order granting the Gilligans legal aid for their proceedings should be rescinded.

Lawyers for the Gilligans said they would strongly oppose any such application

Chief Justice Susan Denham remarked this was no more than a "floating idea" by CAB and there was no formal application before the court to rescind legal aid.

Having considered the stay and costs issues, the five judge Supreme Court said it would grant a three month  stay on the orders allowing CAB take possession of the two houses at Blanchardstown and Jessbrook.

It also ruled CAB was entitled to its costs of the appeals before the Supreme Court against John, Geraldine and Darren Gilligan but not Tracey Gilligan.  

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