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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Gilligan: “I had nothing to do with Veronica Guerin’s murder”

The convicted drug trafficker, who led the gang that killed the Sunday Independent journalist, was freed from prison earlier today.

Gilligan pictured at Portlaoise Prison earlier today
Gilligan pictured at Portlaoise Prison earlier today
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FREED CRIME BOSS John Gilligan has told reporters he had “nothing to do with Veronica Guerin’s murder”.

The criminal —  who led the gang that carried out the killing of the journalist, but was later acquitted of her murder — was tracked down to a house in Dublin earlier following his release this morning from Portlaoise Prison.

Answering the door dressed in the same grey shirt he had been wearing when exiting the jail he said: “This girl, Lord have mercy on her, she never wrote one word about me”.

He confirmed that the investigative reporter had visited him at his estate in Jessbrook, but denied having assaulted her or later making threats to harm her.

Gilligan ended the exchange, posted on Youtube by Irish Mirror journalist Cathal McMahon, saying “I’m after being on trial and been proved nothing’s ever happened”.

“I’ve being decent enough, respectful enough. I didn’t duck and dive — I could have come out of the prison and hid. I won’t be hiding from nobody.”

Asked about his plans for the future, he said, “My plans are to have another beer”.

Gilligan was acquitted of the murder of Veronica Guerin in spite of testimony from a member of his own gang, who turned state witness and later entered the witness protection programme.

He was sentenced to 28 years in prison on drug trafficking charges in 2001, but this was later reduced to 20 years on appeal. He was entitled to further time off the sentence due to remission.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan, Veronica’s brother Jimmy Guerin said he was “saddened that somebody who was responsible for murder – guilty of murder – is walking free from jail so early”.

“This is probably Ireland’s most notorious criminal and we are opening the gates of our prison today and letting him back into society and I think that’s wrong.”

Pictures: John Gilligan walks free from Portlaoise Prison >

Jimmy Guerin: I think there are a number of new John Gilligans >

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