Video: Gilligan returns to beloved Jessbrook
Drugs baron visits family members in house immediately adjacent to facility seized by Criminal Assets Bureau
CONVICTED drugs baron John Gilligan has returned to his beloved ‘Jessbrook’ Equestrian Centre - just one day after he was released from jail.
The one-time suspect in the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin has this afternoon gone to a house immediately adjacent to the centre near Johnstownbridge on the border between Kildare and Meath.
The centre, which was constructed by Gilligan in the mid 1990s, was confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau after his drugs empire was crushed following the murder of Ms Guerin.
The 61-year-old criminal had spent last night partying at a brother’s house in Clondalkin in Dublin to celebrate his release from Portlaoise Prison yesterday.
A number of visitors called to that house yesterday morning, but at lunchtime he walked out the front door to a waiting VW Passat and was driven to Kildare where he built the centre – and entered an adjoining property.
A woman understood to be a family member - and accompanied by a small child and a dog - opened the gates of the driveway to the house.
After speeding into the driveway in a silver Wolkswagon Passat, the gate was locked behind him and the woman got into the car with the young child.
However the car stopped just yards down the driveway as the dog had been left behind.
CAB’s seizure of the property was completed last year after a 17-year court battle with Gilligan. Jessbrook, valued at €5m during the boom years, was put on the market by the State for €500,000 just last month.
Gilligan had hoped that the 3,000-seat arena would host international show-jumping tournaments.
Now Gilligan, his wife Geraldine and children Darren and Treacy have applied to the High Court for a certificate of 'lis pendens' – essentially a notice on the property's land records to warn buyers that there are legal proceedings pending.
Later this afternoon the man who collected Gilligan from prison yesterday reemerged from the house in the silver car.
"Would you not think that after 17 years you'd leave the man alone," he said when approached by reporters for comment.
"There's no point saying nothing to you men because everything he's told you, you've twisted it. "
"I haven't ever met one of you yet in Ireland that's ever told the truth.
When it was put to him that the courts had found Gilligan guilty of drug trafficking he said: "He was found not guilty. Isn't that good enough for you?" before adding that Gilligan "didn't kill anyone".
As he retreated back into the car afrer locking the gates, he said he didn't know John Gilligan.
"I don't really know the man to be honest with you. "