Wednesday 22 January 2020

Devious pensioner has enjoyed charmed existence, but his luck can't hold forever

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

VETERAN gang boss John Traynor is unlikely to be ever charged in connection with the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, or for running one of the country's biggest drug trafficking operations with John Gilligan.

Gardai do not have any charges outstanding against the devious career gangster, who is now officially a pensioner at the age of 65.

They believe he was aware of the plot to murder Veronica Guerin and gave Gilligan the information that she was due in Naas court on June 26, 1996 – the day she was shot dead.

However, it is understood that the DPP decided that there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.

The cunning and manipulative double agent had managed to stay a safe distance from the actual planning of the notorious crime.

However, if Traynor, who was tracked down to the UK by the 'Sunday World' yesterday, decides to return to his old stomping ground to collect his state pension, he will certainly be arrested by gardai.

And he will be kept under surveillance – which might make his life difficult.

Then there is the added danger that several criminals around Dublin might have an axe to grind with one of the underworld's longest surviving godfathers.

Traynor has played all sides very shrewdly: media, gardai, criminals.

He regularly sat back and enjoyed the show as he played one off against the other.

At the same time, he was one of a handful of crime lords who established huge drug distribution operations and brought a level of sophistication to the illicit trade.

It was that industry that drew the attentions of Ms Guerin, which in turn led her to meet Traynor – who offered to be an informant in turn for not being exposed.

But she soon learned the truth about he man she dubbed the 'coach'.

She also focused her attention on his partner, the new Mr Big, John Gilligan. When she confronted the violent gangster, Gilligan beat her and was charged with serious assault.

He would go to jail if convicted, and neither Traynor nor any other members of the mob wanted that. As a result, Ms Guerin was sentenced to death and the rest is history.

The self-pitying mobster lamented yesterday how the journalist's murder by Gilligan had destroyed his life.

He blames all his woes on his diminutive former partner.

Compared to the fortunes of many of his contemporaries and former associates, Traynor has enjoyed a charmed existence – but his luck cannot hold forever.

Irish Independent

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