Gilligan’s daughter witnessed shooting

Woman was leaving housing estate with her child in her car when masked men struck

The scene at Greenfort in Clondalkin, where John Gilligan was shot. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The scene at Greenfort in Clondalkin, where John Gilligan was shot. Photograph: Dave Meehan


Gardaí investigating the attempted murder of convicted drug dealer John Gilligan believe his adult daughter and grandchild witnessed the gun attack on the 62-year-old.

The Dubliner was hit with four bullets, with one going through his torso leaving an entry and exit wound. Garda sources said he faces a long recovery but it should be aided by his strong upper body strength and good physical condition from lifting weights while serving a 17-year jail term in Portlaoise Prison.

He is being treated at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, west Dublin, where armed detectives have been deployed to deter any further attacks on him while under treatment.

Detectives investigating the attack in Clondalkin, west Dublin, on Saturday evening believe Gilligan spent the afternoon at his wife’s house near Johnstownbridge on the Kildare-Meath border. The property is situated on the only parcel of land on his former Jessbrook equestrian estate that has not yet been confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Gilligan was driven from Jessbrook by his daughter to his brother’s house on Greenfort Crescent on Saturday evening.

Masked men

She was preparing to leave with her child in her car when both witnessed two masked men, at least one of whom was armed, go into the local authority house and fire a volley of shots in the downstairs area of the property. Gilligan’s daughter and grandchild also witnessed the killers fleeing in a silver or grey 4X4 vehicle.

The injured man’s brother and sister-in-law, who own the house, were present when the shooting took place. It has now emerged he was shot four times but managed to survive despite sustaining an injury to his head believed to be a graze from a bullet. It was the second attempt on his life since his release from jail, following an earlier incident in December.

Former gang boss
The following day the former gang boss, who was acquitted of the 1996 murder of Veronica Guerin, was formally warned by gardaí his life was at risk. A criminal from Ballymun in north Dublin emerged as a prime suspect for that botched attempt and he too has recently been warned his life is in danger. He has emerged as a suspect for the attack on Gilligan just after 7pm on Saturday. However, gardaí are trying to establish if he is working for a larger criminal gang or if other drug dealers are involved. Meanwhile, a chaplain at Connolly Hospital said yesterday Gilligan was being treated in an open ward with five other people.

Father Dan Joe O’Mahony said Gilligan was “in great pain” when he arrived. Fr O’Mahony said he administered absolution to Gilligan. “It’s hard to know how conscious he was to be honest.

“I know they were trying to tell him what was happening and what they were trying to do for him. The wounds he had – he was a lucky man – he had wounds in his chest, his legs, and I think a bullet grazed his head. There was blood everywhere.”