Last of John Gilligan’s property sold by Criminal Assets Bureau

Remaining bungalow and small plot of land sold by private treaty through Dublin agent

The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, built by convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan beside his home. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, built by convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan beside his home. Photograph: Alan Betson

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The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) has sold the last piece of property on the Jessbrook estate in Co Kildare that was owned by drugs gang leader John Gilligan.

Head of the bureau, Det Chief Supt Pat Clavin, has said the house on the land near Enfield had been sold in the past week through an estate agent in Co Dublin. The property had been on sale for about 16 months.

Cab had previously auctioned the adjoining lands and equestrian centre. However, the house and a small piece of land it was on were separate from the rest of the property.

Gilligan’s wife Geraldine had been living there until June 2017, even after the lands and equestrian centre were sold. John Gilligan was filmed and photographed at the property after he was released from prison five years ago after serving a sentence for drug dealing.

The house was taken possession of by Cab in the summer of last year.

The total estate in Mucklon, Co Kildare, includes 32 hectares (80 acres) of land and a 3,500-seater showjumping arena, stables and related buildings.

It had been split into four sections, with three offered for sale by the Cab. Most of the lands and equestrian centre, which had fallen into disrepair, were sold four years ago.

However, Geraldine Gilligan continued to live in the seven-bedroom bungalow on the fourth section while the legal battle over it continued.

When Gilligan was released from his prison sentence in 2013 having served 17 years, he immediately set about trying to frustrate the sale of any part of the Jessbrook estate, none of which had been sold at the time of his release.

He began a last-ditch challenge just days before his release by securing a notice of lis pendens, or suit pending, in relation to the Jessbrook property, which was being readied for auction by the Cab.

It effectively amounted to a public notice warning that the estate was subject to litigation. It meant if the estate was sold and Gilligan later won his case, the asset would have to be reinstated to him.

However, the property was eventually sold, apart from a small portion of land and the house where his wife still lived.

That house and piece of land were still at the centre of litigation between the Cab and Geraldine Gilligan. She has always argued the house is her family home and so should not be treated by the courts as the proceeds of Gilligan’s crimes and taken from her, an argument the courts ultimately ruled against.

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