Jessbrook equestrian centre put up for sale again

Kildare premises formerly owned by convicted drug dealer John Gilligan changed hands for €500,000 just last year

The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre near Johnstownbridge, Enfield, Co. Kildare built by convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan beside his home. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre near Johnstownbridge, Enfield, Co. Kildare built by convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan beside his home. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The new owner of the equestrian centre formerly known as Jessbrook has said the facility will be put up for sale, only two months after its official unveiling as an international show jumping venue.

James Buckley bought the 64-acre centre near Enfield, Co Kildare, from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) last year for nearly €500,000. CAB had seized it from convicted drug dealer John Gilligan.

Mr Buckley, a Newbridge native and former show jumper, renovated the centre extensively before its only major event last November, an Irish Masters show.

“I can confirm that it is my intention to place Emerald International on the market for sale,” Mr Buckley said in a statement. “This has been a long and difficult decision and this is not a decision I have come to easily.

“Emerald International will require a huge commitment from myself and due to health reasons, I am now no longer in a position to give such a commitment.”

A spokesman for Emerald International said the equestrian centre “will be placed for sale on the open market in the coming weeks”.

The centre boasted five show jumping areas, including a large indoor arena with seating for 3,000 people. It had three international shows planned for 2015 which will now be cancelled.Journalist Isabel Hurley of the Irish Field said Emerald International notified equestrian sport governing body Horse Sport Ireland and Show Jumping Ireland of the cancellations and impending sale last week.

In an email addressed to Horse Sport Ireland and seen by The Irish Times, Emerald International show director Pippa McDonald-Clinch wrote: “It is with regret that I ask you to cancel the Emerald International FEI show dates scheduled for this year. Emerald International will soon be placed on the market for sale. This decision has come in light of James Buckley’s health issues. Unfortunately, James is now no longer in a position to fulfil the level of commitments that Emerald requires.”