| 10.5°C Dublin

Drug lord's desperate bid to block sale of estate

ATTEMPTS by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to sell Jessbrook, the former estate of drug dealer John Gilligan, must overcome another legal hurdle after he filed a High Court notice to deter buyers.

Gilligan (61) walked out of Portlaoise Prison this morning and got into a waiting car after serving 17 years behind bars.

The CAB is working with the Office of Public Works (OPW) over the sale of the Kildare property, for which the OPW has received offers.

Gilligan, whose wife Geraldine lives on a part of the estate that is not for sale, has been successful in filing a notice of suit pending regarding the sale of Jessbrook.

He is attempting to reopen the case in a bid to win back the asset from CAB in the High Court.

The notice filed means that the estate is subject to litigation. If Gilligan were to win the case, Jessbrook would be returned to him.


Meanwhile, the former garda credited with sending Gilligan to jail says he will greatly struggle if he intends to return to a life of crime.

Felix McKenna, the ex-head of the CAB, revealed he expected the him to keep a low profile. Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, the retired garda said Gilligan was facing a bleak future. "He is coming out to a different world," he said.

"There's been a lot of changes in the underworld in Ireland. He's a man that, shall we say, gangs would be very, very cautious of getting involved with because of his notoriety.

"Therefore, he may stay in Ireland or he may not. He himself, I will imagine, will stay very low as he was prone to do nearly all his life."

According to Mr McKenna, Gilligan has gained a reputation for contesting every charge lodged against him in the courts.

"He believes in the system in regard to contesting everything that's brought against him," he said.

"He is now contesting the civil process applied to his assets, namely Jessbrook estate. He is still contesting that – it's his nature," Mr McKenna added.

"He is after spending 17 years in jail for very serious crimes, so therefore he has served his punishment for the crimes he was involved in and the law has upheld all of those convictions that were achieved against him in the Special criminal court.

"Therefore, the system works to actually keep major crime bosses in jail for a long time."