Irish gangster John Gilligan was shot by two gunmen this past Saturday as they crashed the christening party of his niece and unleashed several well-placed bullets at the once feared Dublin crime boss. He is currently in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, recovering from his wounds which are deemed non-life threatening.
The hit was no surprise.
Not for the police, not for the media, not for gangland insiders, and certainly not for John Gilligan himself. Since his release from prison in October of 2013 after his conviction on drug charges in the 1990s, the Irish mobster was warned immediately that there were serious threats to his life.
In true gangster style Gilligan shrugged it off and went about his daily routine. He visited local bars, and could be seen around town with relatives. If that was because he felt the threats were unfounded he was to be proven wrong.
Last December, a hit man wearing a motorcycle helmet entered the Halfway House pub on the Navan Road screaming “Where’s Gilligan, where’s Gilligan?” He had received information Gilligan would be having a drink at that pub. Or maybe he hadn’t listened. Because while Gilligan was not having a drink at said pub, he was actually very nearby in another pub having a drink with his son.
With assassins like that chasing you, it’s not surprising to see Gilligan out and about. He even has plans to write a book about his life of crime. According to the Sunday World tabloid newspaper, the 61-year-old former crime boss is “short of money” and could use the money a best-seller would bring in.
No doubt his book plans infuriate many in the Irish underworld.
On Saturday, Gilligan was at his brother’s house to attend the christening party of his niece’s child. The home was packed with women and children when around 7pm two masked gunmen burst through the front door guns drawn looking for Gilligan.
The crime boss ran and locked himself in the toilet. His would-be assassins fired several shots, between two and four hit Gilligan. “[He] was hit at least twice, suffering bullet wounds to his shoulder or upper chest area and also another bullet wound in one of his legs,” the Belfast Telegraph reported.
According to The Irish Mirror, Gilligan was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of the hit. If true, it is an indication that he was indeed worried about the death threats and had taken precautions even while attending an innocent christening.
Perhaps it’s also because it takes one to know one. Who could be so cold-blooded that he tries to assassinate a man while attending a christening with women and children? During his gangster days John Gilligan was probably such a man. And if he himself wasn’t, he had men like that doing his bidding.
The two gunmen fled the scene of the crime in a jeep and have not been apprehended. As to who is behind this attempt, it’s pure guesswork.
Though he has been acquitted of the infamous murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, whose life was portrayed in two films and countless books, Gilligan is seen as the man who ordered her death. A death that resulted in a large-scale crackdown on Irish organized crime and new laws that gave authorities more power to combat crime.
If you are a gangster currently experiencing hindrance from these laws then you probably are not a big fan of John Gilligan. A man, also, who is still revered as one of Ireland’s biggest crime bosses.
In an underworld inhabited by violent and powerful men just a hint of jealousy or anger can have grave consequences.
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