A DEAL on the sale of John Gilligan's Jessbrook estate could be completed within days, the Herald can reveal.
CAB is poised to go 'sale agreed' on the notorious criminal's former pride and joy just as he returned to the home adjoining the property.
Gilligan (61) arrived back in the area yesterday after 17 years in jail. However, a new owner is now likely to have control of Jessbrook "before the end of the week", according to the estate agent.
The former jewel in the crown of Gilligan's empire, Jessbrook Equestrian Centre was once valued at €5m but was put on the market by CAB in September with an asking price of €550,000.
At lunchtime yesterday, Gilligan travelled from his brother's home in Clondalkin and arrived at the house adjacent to the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Meath where he remained for the evening.
The centre, near Johnstownbridge on the border between Kildare and Meath, was constructed by Gilligan in the mid-1990s before it was seized by CAB.
His wife Geraldine still lives in a house on the land which is not for sale due to an ongoing Supreme Court case.
The estate agent responsible for the sale of the equestrian centre and lands confirmed that a sale is likely "before the end of the week".
A negotiator for Lowe & Associations, Donal Collopy, the estate agent who organised the sale, told the Herald that a sale is imminent.
"I'd say it will happen sooner rather than later and likely to be before the end of the week," he said.
"We've had quite a few bids on the property and let's just say that we are quite happy with what we've been offered."
Mr Collopy refused to be drawn on whether bids were above the €550,000 mark.
The estate was the subject of a legal battle between Gilligan and the State, but was put up for sale in September.
Gilligan, who was acquitted of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, launched a fresh legal challenge to the sale and secured a notice of lis pendens, or suit pending just before his release from prison.
This case argues that the estate is subject to litigation and if Gilligan later wins, the asset might have to be reinstated to him.
The freed criminal witnessed first hand the 'For Sale' signs that CAB has placed on the estate. At the house yesterday, Gilligan's car sped into the driveway and the gate was locked behind.
The criminal refused to answer any questions from the Herald as he entered the property.
Later, the man who collected Gilligan re-emerged from the house in the silver car and locked the gates with a chain and padlock after he had driven out onto the road.
When the Herald told the man a court had found Gilligan guilty of drug trafficking he replied: "Big deal, he didn't kill anyone".
As a large number of reporters and photographers gathered outside the Jessbrook centre in the secluded townland of Timahoe, a garda car drove past but did not stop.
Gilligan spent all of Tuesday night partying at his brother's house in Clondalkin to celebrate his release from Portlaoise Prison.