Tuesday 16 January 2018

Nine in race to buy Jessbrook as Gilligan goes free

John Gilligan: crime boss is due for release next week
John Gilligan: crime boss is due for release next week
One of the stables , left and the main arena at the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in North Kildare pictured last month
An apartment above the stables at The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in North Kildare
One of the stables at the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre
The run down main arena in Jessbrook
The stables at The Jessbrook equestrian centre
The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, once owned by one of Ireland's most notorious criminals, has nine potential buyers
One of the stable buildings in The Jessbrook equestrian centre

AT least nine potential buyers are taking a close look at Jessbrook equestrian centre, the former centrepiece of a property portfolio owned by crime boss John Gilligan, who is due for release from prison next week.

But no firm bid has yet been tabled for the property, which was put up for sale last month by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Gilligan is due for release from Portlaoise on Tuesday after serving a 20-year sentence for drug trafficking.

He was the leader of the gang of thugs who murdered 'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

The bureau is seeking €500,000 for Jessbrook, which was once valued at €5m at the height of the Celtic Tiger era.

However, despite the knockdown price, none of the interested parties has yet indicated a willingness to meet it.

Some are interested in turning the property into a stud farm, while the Munster Agricultural Society is considering the possibility of transferring the assets from Mucklon, near the Kildare-Meath border, and using the equipment to set up an equestrian and events centre.

The bureau was given permission to dispose of the property by the Supreme Court last November after a 16-year battle with lawyers for Gilligan's wife, Geraldine.

An advertisement placed in national newspapers last month offered the property for sale in three lots.

Gilligan is expected to renew contacts with some former acquaintances here and assess the opportunities for him in this country before determining whether he should emigrate.

Tom Brady Security Editor

Irish Independent

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