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'I stood at door where assassins burst through'


Mobster: Conor Feehan confronts John Gilligan. Photo: Courtpix

Mobster: Conor Feehan confronts John Gilligan. Photo: Courtpix

Mobster: Conor Feehan confronts John Gilligan. Photo: Courtpix

THE door that John Gilligan's would-be-assassins burst through on Saturday evening in their efforts to kill him is one familiar to me – I knocked on it the day he was freed from prison.

After a 17-year sentence for drug trafficking, Gilligan was welcomed to life on the outside by a party at his brother Thomas's house in Greenfort Crescent last October. The banners were out, the bunting was up, the drinking went on until the early hours.

It was at the same door that Gilligan (left and right) had told colleagues only hours earlier that he had nothing to do with the killing of Veronica Guerin in 1996, and that he never assaulted her or threatened to harm her young son.


He was cocky, cheeky and loving the publicity. Before he left prison, Gilligan issued a statement that he would not be talking to any journalists, not even for €1m.

But he loves being the centre of attention, and could not resist the chance to be in the spotlight again. He then said he was going to have another drink and went back inside.

It was after a different family celebration that fresh focus was brought to the same modest terraced house on Saturday.

After a christening party, Gilligan was driven to Greenfort Crescent once more.

The day I called to see if he would talk to me, his brother Thomas told me there might be trouble if me and my colleagues did not leave the area.

There was certainly trouble on Saturday evening when two gunmen burst in the door of number 34 and fired a volley of shots at John Gilligan, taking him down but not out.

The last time I met Gilligan was in December, at the Four Courts of all places, not long after a gunman had run into the Halfway House in Ashtown looking to kill him.

In the Four Courts, he had been meeting with his legal team in a small office near the Law Library as he finally lost grip on any hope of holding on to his Jessbrook equestrian centre.


All the way from the Four Courts to Dame Street I asked him about Jessbrook, what he was going to do now that he was out of prison, where he was going to live, and the attack on his life just weeks earlier.

He never said a word, and just kept walking.

He acted like I was invisible. By Dame Street it was clear I was wasting my time.

He never looked over his shoulder that day, but I bet he will be looking over it from now on.