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Gilligan remanded as 'ill-judged' bail application denied


Pint-sized thug John Gilligan. Photo: Irish Independent

Pint-sized thug John Gilligan. Photo: Irish Independent

Pint-sized thug John Gilligan. Photo: Irish Independent

Gangster John Gilligan, who is accused of money laundering offences in connection with his arrest while attempting to board a flight from Belfast to Spain, was refused bail yesterday.

Gilligan (66), of Greenfort Crescent, west Dublin, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates' Court yesterday via video-link from Maghaberry Prison, where he has been on remand in connection with one charge of attempting to remove criminal property from Northern Ireland.

He was arrested at Belfast International Airport in August.

At the time, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said officers recovered around €23,000 at the scene.

In court yesterday, defence barrister Plunkett Nugent said he had noted the comment the previous week by District Judge Peter King that unless there was a "tectonic" change in circumstances, bail would be refused.

Regarding a "risk of flight" mentioned by prosecutors, Mr Nugent said the defendant had previously signed bail daily for a period of three-and-a-half years in Dublin and had co-operated with police.

Mr Nugent also told the court of a "very real, immediate, and ongoing threat to the life of the defendant".

An NCA investigator told the court they were liaising with gardai about that.

The investigator objected to bail, saying a suggested bail address was "tenuous".

"This man has no ties to Northern Ireland," he said.

"We are concerned that he is a flight risk. The address being put up for bail has a very tenuous link.

"The householder was contacted by police on Friday and she would say she knows Mr Gilligan simply through her father. He is a friend of her father."


Regarding claims previously made about the defendant's health, the NCA investigator said medical staff were available in jails and in the event of anything serious a person could be taken to hospital.

The NCA officer said they were also investigating the background to the cash and said they would be contacting "13 or 14 people who are saying they provided money to Mr Gilligan".

Refusing bail, the judge said the application had been "ill-judged" and added there was nothing to suggest that the situation had changed "one iota".

The defendant was remanded in continuing custody, to appear again via video-link in mid-October.