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  • 2 March 2014, 15:14

Irish Gang Boss Shot At Christening Party

One of Ireland's most notorious gangland criminals has been shot and wounded in Dublin.

John Gilligan is understood to have been celebrating a family christening at his brother's home in the Clondalkin area when two gunmen forced their way inside.

The 61-year-old convicted drugs dealer is believed to have locked himself in a downstairs toilet as the attackers gained entry.

Gilligan is reported to have been shot four times - in the face, chest, hip and leg.

He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being transferred to hospital at Blanchardstown.

He was given the Last Rites by the duty chaplain upon arrival in hospital. There's speculation he was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.

A major policing operation is now under way in and around the Irish capital amid fears of reprisals for the shooting, which security sources are describing as "a professional hit".

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

Mr Gilligan was the chief suspect in the murder of Veronica Guerin, an investigative journalist with Dublin's Sunday Independent, who was shot dead in 1996.

He was tried for and acquitted of her killing but later jailed for a multi-million euro cannabis trafficking operation.

The equestrian rancher was sentenced to 28 years, the longest term for drugs offences in the history of the state.

His sentence was reduced to 20 years on appeal and Gilligan was released last October after 17 years behind bars.

Weeks later, he was reported to have survived a murder attempt in a north Dublin pub.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Veronica's brother, Jimmy Guerin, said he had no sympathy for Gilligan.

"My wife, Louann, and I sat through the trials of all those charged in relation to Veronica's murder," he wrote.

"It was a very difficult time, one we would not have got through were it not for each other, the support of a dedicated team of gardai and her former colleagues in Independent Newspapers.

"The one lasting image I have of John Gilligan is as he smiled and looked over at both Louann and I as the details of Veronica's death were revealed during his trial.

"His sick grin no longer hurts, as I doubt he smiled much on his journey in the back of an ambulance last night. At least we were able to take some comfort that Veronica never suffered. Now I have some more things to take comfort from."

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