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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Gangland boss Gilligan wants taxpayers to fund new home, begs council for house

Gilligan 'went into local council office in Blanchardstown last week to inquire about his entitlements'

John Gilligan. Photo: Collins
John Gilligan. Photo: Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Gangland boss John Gilligan wants taxpayers to fund a new home for him after he lost three properties to the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The convicted drug trafficker presented himself at council offices in Blanchardstown last week, claiming he is facing homelessness.

The Irish Independent understands Mr Gilligan, whose gang killed journalist Veronica Guerin 20 years ago, wants access to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) which offers social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need.

Last month the crime lord lost a Supreme Court appeal in which he challenged proceeds of crime orders in relation to some of his assets.

The five-judge court ruled that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is entitled to seize three properties linked to Gilligan, including the Jessbrook equestrian centre in Enfield, Co Meath.

The 65-year-old has been living on the grounds of the centre in recent months - but CAB is understood to be preparing to seize it on the back of the court judgment.

Read more: The unravelling of John Gilligan's grandiose plan to live like a lord

Other property owned by his former wife Geraldine, daughter Tracy and son Darren, was also found to be the proceeds of crime.

It is understood Gilligan went into a local council office in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, on Tuesday of last week to inquire about his entitlements from housing officials.

Under the HAP scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly, with the tenant making a weekly contribution based on their ability to pay.

Gilligan is believed to have raked in millions during the 1990s when he was flooding the country with drugs.

He spent 17 years in prison for drug trafficking and is widely believed to have ordered the murder of 'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

When contacted by the Irish Independent last night, Veronica's brother Jimmy, who is a councillor in the Fingal area, said he was stunned by the development. "I'm absolutely horrified that John Gilligan would approach the council to seek access to housing," he said.

Mr Guerin said he will attempt to block any assistance being offered to the gangster and hopes other councillors will support him.

Read more: Gilligan family told to vacate homes that were bought with the proceeds of crime

Under Section 14 of the Housing Act 1997, a housing authority can refuse assistance if it considers that the person is or has been engaged in anti-social behaviour or that providing a house for a person would not be in the interest of good estate management.

"We have a duty to residential within Fingal to manage estates.

"It is well-known that he [Gilligan] is under threat and by helping him get a house we would be putting other people in danger," Mr Guerin said.

"I'd find it too big a thing to swallow that after 20 years of trying to get his ill-gotten gains off him, he was then handed a house."

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said they could not comment on interactions with individual clients.

Despite his attempt to get social housing, gardaí believe he is also considering a legal challenge in the European courts to stop CAB from seizing his assets.

His legal battle with CAB has lasted nearly 20 years and is understood to have cost the State well in excess of €1m.

Irish Independent

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