Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Gangland feud link to foiled pipe-bomb attacks

Gangland feud link to foiled pipe-bomb attacks

By Paul Melia

Tuesday March 18 2008

Two foiled pipe-bomb attacks in a 24-hour period are being linked to a long-running gangland feud that has already claimed 11 lives.

But gardai are also investigating the possibility that the devices could have been planted by a self-publicist who later called 999 to tip off the authorities.

The devices were found underneath a car and outside a house in south Dublin, and were deactivated by the Army's bomb disposal team.

A spokesman for the Defence Forces said there were similarities between both devices, suggesting the same person made both. They were both said to be crude, but viable.

Dozens of houses were evacuated as a precaution after the discovery of the two bombs in Crumlin between 2am on Sunday and 12.10am yesterday morning.

Both devices were deactivated without the need for controlled explosions, and are being examined for fingerprints or other clues that might lead to arrests.

The first was discovered underneath a car parked outside a house on Captain's Avenue in Crumlin at 1.50 on Sunday morning.

The second was discovered at the front door of a house in Crumlin Park at 12.10am yesterday, again after an anonymous 999 call.

The Defence Forces said there were "similarities" in the construction of both devices, and that both were viable and could have exploded causing death or serious injury.

"This is the second IED (improvised explosive device) in 24 hours dealt with by our bomb disposal teams in Dublin," a Defence Forces spokesman said yesterday.

"These home-made bombs are crude, unstable and potentially very dangerous. No controlled explosion was carried out. The IED was removed and further examination of it is being carried out this morning in conjunction with investigating gardai."

"The constituent parts will be handed over to gardai following this technical examination."

A garda spokesman confirmed that anonymous callers had informed gardai about both devices. And while no arrests had been made, investigations were continuing. Both discoveries are being treated as separate incidents.


Had they exploded, the metal casings in the bombs could have fragmented and caused serious injury to anyone nearby. It is believed that extra garda patrols will now be mounted in Crumlin and Drimnagh amid fears that the long-running gangland feud, which has claimed many lives, could spiral out of control.

The feud, between rival drug-dealing gangs, has been running since 2001 and has so far claimed the lives of 11 people.

Last week one gangland figure fled the country amid an apparent plot to assassinate him.

Two suspected hitmen were also stopped on O'Connell Bridge by undercover gardai acting on a tip-off.

- Paul Melia

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Dead man walking: why gardai believe John Gilligan will one day be assassinated

Sunday Tribune

Convinced he will walk free from jail in three years, Gilliganmay have plans but gardai say his life is under threat
Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
ON THE morning of 2 May last year, four prison officers burst into a cell at the country's most secure prison and found its occupant watching a luxury flatscreen television.

The staff carried out a fingertip search of the single cell and as they left with the illegal TV the inmate cursed and threatened that he would "do" the prison officers.

He was immediately restrained and taken to a special segregation unit. As he was transferred, the other inmates on the notorious E1 landing in Portlaoise cheered for "Factory John", who shouted that he would soon have his telly back.

John Gilligan, for it was he, believes that soon he will be able to watch plasma TV in the comfort of his own home. He is planning an attempt to obtain early release from prison for a 20-year sentence for the possession of cannabis. He believes he can take advantage of new rules and be a free man in just over three years. Prison sources say, however, there is no chance the 55year-old will be allowed out of jail a day early. Gardai believe the major drug dealer will be assassinated when he is eventually set free.

The future of the man who masterminded the murder of Veronica Guerin is looking grim indeed but sources say the notoriously arrogant criminal is ignorant of this and is already planning for the next chapter of his life.

A life of crime John Gilligan was born in Ballyfermot, west Dublin, on 29 March 1952. He first came to the attention of gardai at the age of 15 when he was caught shoplifting. Over the next 20 years he amassed 15 criminal convictions for assault, burglary, attempted robbery and handling stolen property. In November 1990 Gilligan was sentenced to six years in Portlaoise after being caught robbing a factory.

After his release Gilligan, having associated with some major dealers in prison, was determined he was going to be a major gangland player but needed finance to set himself up. He organised an £800,000 loan through a Dublin car dealer, John Traynor, with notorious criminal 'The General' Martin Cahill supplying the cash.

Gilligan started off smuggling of cigarettes into the country through Dublin Port but soon turned his attention to drugs. His gang became known as the Greenmount gang after the premises in Harold's Cross where they operated from. With Brian Meehan, whom he knew from Portlaoise, as his "hands on" lieutenant Gilligan began forging relationships with international drugs traffickers in Holland and was soon importing massive quantities of cannabis which originated in Morocco.

Because he was making so much money John Gilligan needed to launder it. He 'cleaned' his drugs cash through bureaux de changes and also placed bets in bookmakers and foreign casinos. He bought the luxury Jessbrook equestrian centre in Enfield, Co Kildare, set on 100 acres of land, for around £3m. He also owned a house in Corduff, west Dublin. Gilligan was a fan of the finer things in life and splashed out on expensive cars and luxury foreign holidays. Gardai began to receive reports about his opulent lifestyle and in 1995 launched a massive investigation into the Gilligan gang, codenamed 'Pineapple'.

Crime journalist Veronica Guerin heard about the probe and began investigating his activities. The Sunday Independent journalist called to Jessbrook to try to interview the criminal but when he saw her he viciously assaulted her and told her that he would rape her young son if a word about him appeared in her paper. Guerin reported the incident to gardai and Gilligan was charged. The journalist was shot dead in June 1994 before the case came to court. Gilligan was the prime suspect in organising the hit.

Following the Guerin murder, the biggest garda investigation in the history of the state was launched at Lucan garda station under the leadership of assistant commissioner Tony Hickey.

Gilligan was acquitted of the journalist's murder but received a 28-year sentence for the importation of cannabis. This was later reduced to 20 years.

Gilligan has been imprisoned in Portlaoise since 2001 on the E1 landing which houses the country's most dangerous criminals. Gilligan acts as if he is the top dog on Portlaoise's E wing and was one of only two inmates with smuggled plasma TVs. A blind eye was turned to this for many years in order not to provoke him and risk unrest. Gilligan has a close relationship with major drug dealer Tony Felloni and associates with Limerick gang boss Christy Keane.

He was also on friendly terms with dead gangster John Daly.

The extent of his popularity was evident when, in 2004, all of the 34 prisoners on E1 signed a petition to the prison's governor requesting that Gilligan be released from solitary confinement.

Reputation of arrogance Gilligan is not popular with the prison staff and is regarded as being menacing and arrogant.

Apart from the incident last May he has had several scrapes with authorities while in jail. In 2001 he took a legal challenge against the governor of Portlaoise after he was punished for assaulting, threatening and abusing an assistant chief prison officer. He was sent to a special solitary cell for two months. His court challenge failed.

Although CAB has seized Jessbrook and his home in Corduff, gardai believe millions of euro in cash is siphoned offshore awaiting collection when he is released. It is believed he has up to 13 properties in Alicante all held under different names.

Gilligan is seeking early release under a new Department of Justice scheme that could see qualifying prisoners get one-third remission on their sentences.

Senior prison sources have told the Sunday TribuneGilligan has "absolutely no chance" of being granted early release and he will not be a free man until April 2013.

The big question is what will John Gilligan do when he finally gets released from jail? Gardai believe he will have little option but to go and live in Spain with his family. Sources say there is little doubt that once he is a free man he will be "taken out" by the next generation of drug dealers.

One senior detective who has investigated the criminal's activities in the past said: "John thinks he will get out and things will just fall back in place like the old days. What he doesn't realise is that he is a dinosaur.

"I can't imagine that some of the major new Dublin gangs run by lads in their 20s would be too happy with him trying to butt into their business. These guys would shoot him without giving it a second thought."

Gilligan says he is determined to remain in Dublin and is adamant a life on the Spanish Costa is not for him.

Speaking during a recent interview he gave in Portlaoise he said: "From my calculations I will walk free from jail in October three years from now. I have no plans to go anywhere else. I certainly won't be going to Spain, despite what some people say.

"Home for me is Corduff in Blanchardstown, and if god has his way I'm going to die there. I have no intention of running around the place just to avoid the media."
March 16, 2008

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

CAB trawls accounts in search for drugs cash

CAB trawls accounts in search for drugs cash

By Barry Duggan

Wednesday March 12 2008

Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau have begun trawling through accounts in banks, building societies, post offices, credit unions and even bookmakers as part of their investigations into some of the country's most dangerous criminal gangs.

The CAB profilers are investigating the activities of at least three criminal gangs based in Limerick city which have been linked with the lucrative but illicit trade in drugs.

The notorious criminal outfits under intense scrutiny are the Dundon-McCarthys, the Collopys and the Keane gangs. The gangs have made millions of euros from the sale of drugs and the proceeds of crime. Now, senior gang members fear that their assets will be seized by authorities following the intensive investigation.

Two CAB profilers have been based in the city since last year as recommended by former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald in his report on how to tackle social, criminal and physical problems in Limerick's deprived suburbs.

The Irish Independent has learned that as part of their desperate attempts to launder cash, criminal outfits have deposited cash in credit unions across the city, various banks, post offices and even bookies to avoid detection by the Revenue Commissioners. All accounts are now under inspection as part of the thorough investigation by the CAB.

The CAB profilers have learned that millions of euros have been stashed away in such accounts.

"It is still early stages and the depth of their pockets is unknown, but we are talking in the millions of euros," said an informed source.


Limerick criminals who have extravagant signs of affluence and no apparent means of income are directly under the microscope. A garda source revealed that lending institutions have to report deposits of €7,500 or more.

As a result, the crime lords are beginning to feel the pinch. Members of one gang found with €175,000 in cash could not explain how they had the money and it was forfeited to the State.

In another incident, a shop in the city was bought for €150,000 by members of a criminal gang as a proposed business front to explain their lucrative wealth.

- Barry Duggan

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Daly murder suspect held in prison intimidation probe

Sunday Tribune

Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
GARDAI investigating a sinister campaign against prison officers at Mountjoy have arrested one of the main suspects in the murder of notorious criminal John Daly.

The Sunday Tribune understands that one of the men believed to have been involved in the murder of the 27-year-old last October was arrested in relation to an incident where bullets were left for four prison officers.

The arrested man, who is in his late 20s, is one of three people who have now been detained on suspicion of threatening four named staff members at the Dublin prison.

A man wearing a scarf to cover his face walked into the visiting reception centre of the jail on 18 February and handed an envelope to a staff member. He quickly left the premises before it was discovered that the envelope contained two bullets, as well as personal details about the staff members. The details included information about where they lived and socialised.

The envelope also contained a letter demanding that two named prisoners be immediately transferred to solitary confinement. One of the prisoners is regarded as being one of the main gangland figures in west Dublin . It is unclear why the letter writer wanted the inmates kept in isolation but gardai believe it was because his associates wanted to have more dominance inside the jail.

The prison staff involved have all been given security advice by gardai, who are treating the threat as serious and extremely sinister.

Three people have now been arrested, one of them a woman. The two males are well known to gardai in west Dublin and have links to a major criminal gang in Finglas.

Both have denied having anything to do with in leaving the bullets but gardai are certain they were involved and say the individual captured in CCTV footage of the incident bears a striking similarity to one of the men.

All three were released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

John Daly was shot dead in Finglas last October as he returned in a taxi after a night out in the city centre.

The man who is thought to have masterminded the killing was a close associate of dead drugs boss Martin 'Marlo' Hyland, and used one of his associates to carry out the killing.

Daly, an armed robber and drug dealer, came to public prominence last summer after he telephoned the Liveline radio show from the maximum security Portlaoise Prison.

He was murdered just weeks after being released because he was dealing in a rival's drug territory.
March 2, 2008