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Thursday 5 December 2019

Drug trafficker John Gilligan's former equestrian estate opens doors under new owner

Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The Jessbrook equestrian centre that was seized from drug trafficker John Gilligan by the Criminal Assets Bureau is finally about to open its doors under a new owner.

Now called the Emerald International Equestrian Centre, the venue will host its first show jumping competition this weekend.

Newbridge native James Buckley (33) has turned the flooded shell of a building near Enfield in Co Kildare into an international standard competition arena that has already caught the attention of the best known in the industry.

The Irish Masters Show will run from Friday to Sunday with €55,000 in prize money up for grabs.

New owner James said that he jumped at the chance to purchase the prize eventing centre.

“As soon as the centre came on the market I was interested in it,” James told the Herald.

“I’ve been involved in horses and jumping since I was a child and this is now the biggest purpose-built equestrian arena in Ireland, and possibly Europe.”

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