EXILED convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan is expected to return home to Dublin this week following the death of his younger brother, Bernard.
Gilligan fled the country last March after being shot and critically injured at the house of another brother, Thomas, in Clondalkin.
But the death of Bernard, who had no involvement in crime, is expected to draw the pint-sized gangster back home.
Bernard died in Tallaght Hospital on Saturday after an illness. He lived in the Lucan area.
Gangster Gilligan (62) learned of his brother's death at his hideaway in England.
If he returns it will be amid tight security as he still fears for his life following two murder attempts since he was released from jail a year ago this Wednesday after a 17-year-sentence.
In the first murder bid last December 5, only weeks after his release, Gilligan was the target of a man who ran into the Halfway House pub in Cabra.
However, the would-be assassin had gone to the wrong pub - Gilligan was in the nearby Hole in the Wall and the gunman's error saved his life.
In the second attempt last March 1, Gilligan was in his brother's house following a family christening party when a gunman burst in and shot him in the abdomen, chest and leg, with one bullet grazing his head.
In recent weeks Gilligan has been trying to broker peace with his enemies following the attempts on his own life and the shooting dead in March of his driver and protector Stephen 'Dougie' Moran in Lucan.
Gilligan was being treated for gunshot wounds at the time.
Moran's murder shocked Gilligan so much that he discharged himself from Connolly Hospital while still in a wheelchair and was driven to the docks where he boarded a ferry for England under cover of darkness.
It is expected that Gilligan's visit home this week will be brief. He will return to the UK immediately after the funeral and stay there until he can reach an agreement with his enemies allowing him home.
Sources said the thug is recovering "slowly but surely" and has indicated that he may be back by Christmas.
Gilligan made himself a target in the weeks after his release from prison by looking for money and stepping on the toes of younger criminals who have taken over his territory.
The murder of journalist Veronica Guerin by Gilligan's gang led to the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau which has taken millions of euro from criminals, making Gilligan a hated figure.
He is currently moving between safe houses in London and Birmingham.
A source said: "Even though he became a massive target for other criminals because of his bully-boy antics after his release from jail, he is still brazen enough to consider coming back here."