Friday 19 January 2018

Crime Sweep: Drugs lord John Gilligan swaps prison yard for a yard brush

Convicted criminal John Gilligan sweeps up leaves from the drive of the home near Jessbrook.
Convicted criminal John Gilligan sweeps up leaves from the drive of the home near Jessbrook.
Convicted criminal John Gilligan sweeps up leaves from the drive of the home near Jessbrook.
Convicted criminal John Gilligan sweeps up leaves from the drive of the home near Jessbrook.
TIDY-UP: Tired-looking gangster John Gilligan has a small dog for company as he sweeps up leaves from the drive of the home near Jessbrook.
Gilligan on his release from Portlaoise, where he served 17 years for drugs offences

GANGSTER John Gilligan has swapped the prison yard for a yard brush as he looks set to stay in Ireland.

The convicted drug trafficker gets down to some dirty work as he sweeps up close to his beloved Jessbrook Equestrian Centre.

Our exclusive photographs show Gilligan (61) has gone from prison gym fanatic to cottage caretaker.

It had been widely speculated that the crime kingpin would move to Spain following his release from prison last month – but this does not appear to be the case. “He is sticking close to his family in Ireland,” a source said. “Jessbrook hasn't been sold yet and as far as he is concerned the battle goes on.” Gilligan was back in the Supreme Court this week to continue his appeal over the seizure of his assets.

CAB are in the process of selling the 80-acre site, with an asking price of €550,000. However, when photographed by the Herald, the criminal was working up a sweat looking after the small house beside Jessbrook where his wife Geraldine lives in Timahoe, Co Kildare. He rarely leaves the house except for court sittings and on occasion to visit a nearby pub.

Gilligan, whose gang killed journalist Veronica Guerin, has been seen for much of this week sweeping the leaves from the long private driveway of the bungalow.

Wearing a blue check shirt and gardening gloves, the drugs lord swept and raked the leaves for three days solid. He also ventured outside the gates to sweep up leaves.

There had been speculation before Gilligan's high-profile release from Portlaoise Prison that the gangster would move abroad, most likely to Spain.

Gardai believe he stashed away millions before being jailed, but that fortune is now gone.

Sources say Gilligan has made contact with several of his former gang associates since being freed on October 15, but most want nothing to do with him.

After getting out of jail, Gilligan was driven to his brother's house in Clondalkin for a party that was attended by family and friends. He then drove to the Jessbrook site and the house where Geraldine lives the following day.

BATTLES

His attachment to the property has been well-documented through his court battles, but estate agents Lowe & Associates said last month they were confident the sale of the property would be completed soon.

They have been unavailable for comment regarding the centre since Gilligan showed up after his release.

The centre was once valued at €5m, but was put on the market by CAB in September with an asking price of €550,000.

It was built by Gilligan (61) in the mid-1990s before it was seized by CAB.

Gilligan launched a new legal challenge to the sale just before his release – one of many failed legal challenges he launched since CAB deemed it was built with the proceeds of his massive drugs empire.

Only this week, the Supreme Court gave directions for the exchange of legal papers in an appeal over the seizure of the assets of Gilligan and his family.

His appeal will involve an analysis of forensic accountants’ reports relating to the acquisition of their assets which were seized and declared the proceeds of crime by the courts, Mr Justice Frank Clarke was told.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News