AN IRISH gangster has appeared in a Dublin court over an extradition request by Spanish authorities after he skipped the country last year.

Darren Gilligan, 47, the son of notorious drug trafficker John Gilligan, was due to appear in court for the offence of breaching Public Order and Safety.

He would have taken to the dock alongside his father and seven others in the Costa Blanca resort of Torrevieja in October.

The gang are accused of smuggling cannabis into Ireland hidden among flip-flops, illegally exporting powerful sleeping pills as well as a variety of firearms charges.

But a no-show put the trial on hold as an international arrest warrant was put out for Gilligan by Spanish authorities.

Attempts were made to track him down before eventually declaring him in contempt of court and paving the way for his arrest warrant to be issued this week.

Four Members Of Drugs Gang Led By Irish Criminal John Gilligan Are Arrested On Spain S Costa Blanca
Convicted drug smuggler John Sullivan’s gang were arrested in Torrevieja in October 2020

However, in a bizarre twist, Gilligan was already talking to the stand in a Dublin courtroom before the warrant had even arrived in Ireland.

Instead he was detained on a Schengen Information System (SIS) alert at an address in West Dublin on Wednesday morning.

The arresting detective told the court Gilligan had admitted he was aware of the extradition request.

The court dodger said it came ‘from being in the wrong place at the wrong time over nothing I done.’

Gilligan told the court he had been intending to return to Spain but had not been able to afford the flights.

He has been remanded in custody until the formal European Arrest Warrant comes through to Irish authorities and extradition proceedings can begin.

John Gilligan, 71, was due to appear at a court in Torrevieja on Monday, April 17, for a three-day trial spread over a week, but his trial has now been suspended. 

John Gilligan Arrest
John Gilligan, 71, was due to appear at a court in Torrevieja on Monday, April 17, for a three-day trial spread over a week, but his trial has now been suspended

The convicted gangster faces over eight years in jail if convicted of the charges. 

He previously served 17 years behind bars in Ireland for running a large-scale drug trafficking gang in the nineties that netted over €35 million.

The other suspects include Gilligan’s British girlfriend and his playboy pal, ‘Fat’ Tony Armstrong. 

Prosecutors say Gilligan masterminded a plot to smuggle drugs into Ireland inside consignments of toys and flip-flops.

He was tried in Dublin in 1996 for the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin and acquitted.

A search of Gilligan’s villa uncovered a revolver buried in the garden which was similar to the one used to kill Guerin but nothing further could be confirmed.

Brian Meehan, a member of Gilligan’s gang, was given a life sentence for the execution and is still behind bars.


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