Attempt made on John Gilligan's life

Friday 06 December 2013 22.23
A gunman went into a pub on the Navan Road looking for John Gilligan
A gunman went into a pub on the Navan Road looking for John Gilligan

Convicted drug dealer John Gilligan has been warned his life is in danger after an attempt was made on his life.

An armed man, wearing a motorcycle helmet, went into the Halfway House pub on the Navan Road in Dublin yesterday afternoon and walked around looking for someone.

When challenged by the barman, the gunman shouted: "Where's Gilligan?", before leaving on a motorbike.

A short time later gardaí caught up with the motorbike on the River Road in Finglas but the driver got away following a short pursuit.

However officers recovered a 9mm handgun, which was thrown from the bike, and which is now being forensically examined.

Detectives believe Gilligan is lucky to be alive as the gunman appears to have gone to the wrong location as the 61-year-old was in a nearby pub.

However gardaí have advised him on his own personal security after the incident and have begun a criminal investigation.

Gilligan has described an attempt on his life as "halloween prank" that came too late.

Speaking to RTÉ News Gilligan said he did not know why someone would try to shoot him, he has no enemies, he has no problem with anyone and it "must have been kids".

He made the comments at the High Court today where he was attempting to prevent the sale by the Criminal Assets Bureau of Jessbrook, the equestrian centre in Co Kildare, which was seized from him.

The Criminal Assets Bureau wants the High Court to strike out a potential legal impediment to the sale of property seized by CAB from criminal John Gilligan and his family.

The Gilligans have filed a legal notice called a "lis pendens" warning prospective purchasers of Jessbrook Equestrian centre in Meath, and of three houses in Dublin, that the properties are subject to legal dispute.

The move, taken by John, his wife Geraldine, and children Darren and Treacy, may deter some buyers who do not want to become embroiled in a possible court battle.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said he hoped to give his decision on the CAB application in two weeks.

John Gilligan, recently freed from prison after serving 17 years for drug dealing, attended today's hearing.

CAB argued the High Court should strike out the lis pendens notice because it was an abuse of process in an attempt to thwart the sale.

It had also been done some 16 years since a court first declared the properties were the proceeds of crime, CAB said.

The Gilligans argue their rights were breached because they have never had an oral hearing over whether the properties came from crime.

They claimed previously they were bought from legitimate earnings including from a British £4m loan to John to renovate his properties as well as from his gambling activities.

Nearly three years ago, Mr Justice Kevin Feeney, in finding the assets had come from crime, said he found Gilligan's explanations incredible and improbable.

That case is still on appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, CAB is still entitled to sell the properties including nearly 50 acres and the 3,500-seater Jessbrook show jumping arena, which has gone on the open market for an estimated €500,000.

The barrister for CAB Ben O'Floinn said even if there had not been multiple cases over 16 years about these properties, it would still be an abuse of process for someone to try to stop a sale on such a "slender and diffuse" basis.

Michael Bromley-Martin QC, on behalf of the Gilligans, said while this matter may have been dealt with by eminent jurists in the past, it remained the case that there may have been an error as to the precise requirements of the Proceeds of Crime Act which was that oral evidence should have been heard.

The crux of this case was whether or not the Gilligans' property, constitutional and human rights had been vindicated, Mr Bromley-Martin said.

Mr Bromley-Martin said: "To say that this entire matter had been ventilated previously, in non-oral hearings, was simply irrelevant because the deprivation of a right "was just that, no matter when it has been litigated."