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Gilligans claiming poverty's a family affair in battle to wrest back assets

IT was a case of "like daddy, like daughter" in the High Court as John and Tracey Gilligan pleaded poverty.

The drug dealer dad wasn't happy as he complained about a "punishment landing" at Cloverhill Remand prison, while daughter Tracey was feeling the effects of the recession.

Gilligan is putting up without a pillow, towel or chair these days, the court heard, as he outlined how he was "not getting treated right in that prison".

And fresh off a flight from Alicante, Tracey talked about being "very homesick".

How, then, could those bad boys in the Criminal Assets Bureau take away the homes and everything else that John had apparently gambled so hard to get?

That was the question that the career criminal put to the court as it continued to hear evidence that his millions were not the proceeds of crime.

Gilligan admitted yesterday that he used to sign on for the dole even though he didn't need the cash.

He would go "every three, four, five weeks" and sign on because "me being me, if I signed on I could get legal aid".

Gilligan, who is fighting to win back his beloved Jessbrook equestrian centre and other assets from the State, claimed that he made no money from drug dealing.

He said he was innocent of the crime that has left him with a 20-year prison sentence and accused the judge in his drugs possession case of "reading too many newspapers".

In a desperate attempt to reclaim four properties seized by the CAB in 1996, the crime boss said they were funded through hard work and gambling profits.

"I would have had a professional knowledge (of betting). I got barred out of several bookmakers for winning so much," he said.

And in a lengthy account of his working life, dating back to when he left school at 14, he said that by 17 he "can't remember a time when I couldn't lay my hands on a few thousand."

However, it seems since her father was locked up, Tracey hasn't been having the same luck.

She told the court she and Gilligan's granddaughter face living on the streets if the State does not hand back the house it claims was bought with the proceeds of crime.

Ms Gilligan said her Spanish bar is in financial trouble and facing closure, but she can't come home because the CAB has confiscated her home in Lucan.

The house in Willsbrook View was bought in her name and her father's in 1994 for £75,000.

She lived there until 2002, when she moved to Spain and set up a business which is now feeling the strain of the recession.

"I don't think I have much choice at the moment. I'm going to lose it back to the banks," she said, explaining that she has €120,000 remaining on the bar mortgage and tax bills of €100,000.

"I would love to be home in Lucan."

Later, her father struggled to recall the names of some of those who "minded" his cash for him when he was in jail.