Gangster Gilligan is shot at Christening

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

A notorious gangland figure was said to be in a stable condition yesterday evening after surviving an assassination bid.

John Gilligan was shot while celebrating a family Christening at his brother’s house.

The drug lord and chief suspect in the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin was targeted at the property in the Greenfort area of Clondalkin, near Dublin.

It is understood the 61-year-old was with family and friends in the house when two masked gunmen appeared.

Gilligan is believed to have been in a locked downstairs toilet when the attack unfolded at around 7.10pm on Saturday.

Reports of the number of shots varied.

But information available in the morning after the attack was that Gilligan was understood to have been hit at least twice.

Gardai said that two men had forced their way into the gangster’s brother’s house on Greenfort Crescent where the day-long celebrations had been taking place.

Gilligan was treated at the scene and then taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown with what gardai described as “non-fatal” injuries.

Media reports yesterday indicated that he was stable.

The attackers fled the scene in a silver SUV or 4x4-type vehicle, detectives believe.

The crime boss, who was released from jail late last year after being convicted of a multi-million euro cannabis trafficking operation in the 1990s, is understood to have been recently warned of threats to his life.

It had also been reported that a gunman attempted to shoot him in a pub in north Dublin several weeks after his release.

Gilligan was freed from Portlaoise Prison in October after being jailed in 2001.

He had been arrested in 1996 after being stopped by UK customs officers with a large sum of cash in a suitcase, as he was attempting to board a plane for Amsterdam at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Within hours of his release Gilligan repeatedly denied the murder of Ms Guerin.

She had been a crime journalist with the Sunday Independent, who had written about the activities of Irish drugs kingpins.

She was shot dead on a dual carriageway in 1996.

Gilligan was acquitted of the murder.

Investigating gardai issued an appeal for witnesses to Saturday’s gun attack and urged anyone with information about the shooting to contact officers in Ronanstown.