Saturday 16 December 2017

Potential buyers of 'Jessbrook' have three weeks to make a bid after its €1.5m revamp

The entrance to the Equestrian Centre
The entrance to the Equestrian Centre
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Potential buyers of the high-profile equestrian centre formerly owned by convicted gangster and drug dealer John Gilligan have three weeks to make a bid for the property.

Selling agents REA McDonald Bros have begun a tendering process, which will end on February 27.

It is less than a year after it was sold off by the Criminal Assets Bureau, but in the meantime the premises have been substantially improved and modernised.

It is understood the Buckley family, who are the current owners, have spent over €2m buying and renovating what is now officially known as the 'Emerald International Equestrian Centre'.

Gilligan, at the height of his crime spree, had various plans for the development of the centre then operating under the name of 'Jessbrook'.

However, following the collapse of his criminal empire, it subsequently became the first property to be taken into the possession of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

It remained unused for about 18 years, but last year was sold to a Kildare businessman, who made it into the biggest equestrian centre of its type in Ireland or Britain.

The Buckley family are believed to have paid about €500,000 to CAB for the property.

They have also invested around €1.5m installing and renovating 3,000 seats and corporate boxes, as well as providing a range of other facilities.

The centre covers almost 60 acres of prime pasture land. Set on 58 acres, the facility includes two indoor and three outdoor jumping arenas, a total of 44 stables, as well as two bars, a restaurant, toilets and office space. It is now possibly the only venue in Ireland capable of holding a five-star world cup show, with its indoor jumping surface among the largest in Europe.

Irish Independent

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