Armed gardaí posted to Gilligan’s hospital bedside
Convicted drug dealer in stable condition after shooting
John Gilligan: He was attacked by two masked men. At least six shots were fired from a handgun, and Gilligan was wounded in his stomach, hip and leg. Photograph: Collins
Armed gardaí have been posted to the hospital where convicted drug dealer John Gilligan is being treated, in a bid to deter those who almost claimed his life in a weekend gun attack from trying to shoot him again.
Garda sources said ongoing armed protection would not be provided for the 61-year-old and was never assigned to a gangland criminal, unless in the witness protection programme, even if there was a clear threat to their lives.
However, senior officers are keen to ensure that those who want Gilligan dead do not try to strike in a crowded hospital, and so armed detectives and uniformed gardaí have been assigned to Blanchardstown hospital, where he is being treated after being shot and wounded at the weekend.
Saturday’s attack was the second attempt on Gilligan’s life since his release from Portlaoise prison last October.
In December, a gunman and accomplice went to a pub in Ashtown, near the Phoenix Park, apparently unaware that he was in a nearby pub.
A Ballymun man has emerged as the chief suspect for that muddled murder attempt and is also a suspect for Saturday’s gun attack.
Gardaí believe whoever shot Gilligan had him under surveillance in a pub earlier in the day where he was attending a christening, and also tracked him as he returned home to his brother’s house on the Greenfort estate in Clondalkin.
He was attacked just after 7pm by two masked men. The door of the property had not been kicked in, and Gardaí are trying to establish whether Gilligan answered a call to the door or left it unlocked.
At least six shots were fired from a handgun, and Gilligan was wounded in his stomach, hip and leg. He also sustained a graze to his head, though it was unclear whether that was from a bullet or a fall.
The attackers fled the scene in a silver or grey 4x4. Gilligan was treated by paramedics and then taken by ambulance to hospital.
He was conscious after the shooting and has since undergone surgery. He is in a critical but stable condition and is expected to survive.