Saturday 20 January 2018

Howlin 'shocked' gangster Gilligan still in home where he was confronted by murdered reporter

A still image from Paul Williams’s documentary ‘State of Fear’ shows John Gilligan as he was confronted by the journalist at Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Co Kildare. Photo: TV3

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

Brendan Howlin has said it is "shocking" that gangster John Gilligan is still living in the house where slain reporter Veronica Guerin challenged him about his crimes.

The Labour leader made the remarks after Irish Independent crime journalist Paul Williams angrily confronted Gilligan at the property beside the convicted drug trafficker's former Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Co Kildare. Gilligan was the boss of the gang that murdered 'Sunday Independent' reporter Ms Guerin in 1996. He assaulted her when she challenged him at the property.

He has fought a legal battle against the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) for almost two decades to hang on to the house. Gilligan is reported to be considering taking the case to Europe if he loses a Supreme Court appeal.

Mr Howlin said his Labour colleague Ruairi Quinn established the CAB "to strip ill-gotten gains away from the predators who make money from drug dealing and gang crimes".

He added: "John Gilligan was the centre of a network of evil. That he remains living in the house where Veronica Guerin confronted him about his crimes will be shocking to most right-minded people."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan said the process of trying to take the property from Gilligan had "gone on too long".

He said: "It will be a source of annoyance and irritation to the Irish people that 20 years after John Gilligan's properties at Jessbrook Equestrian Centre were frozen by the State, he is still able to reside in one of those frozen properties."

"CAB must be relentless in its pursuit of the proceeds of crime," he said, adding that efforts to seize the property "should be concluded promptly".

Gilligan (65) was acquitted of Ms Guerin's murder - but he remains the chief suspect. He fled Ireland in 2014 after an attempt on his life but has returned and was confronted by Mr Williams at the house last month. Mr Williams said it was a "grotesque insult" to Ms Guerin's memory that Gilligan was still living there. His TV3 documentary, State of Fear, airs tonight and tomorrow night at 10pm.

Irish Independent

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