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Smirk of the devil John Gilligan's video nasty won't get to me, says Veronica's Guerin's brother

"It just shows you things never change. He is what he is," Jimmy Guerin says.

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John Gilligan 'toasting' Veronica Guerin in the Alicante video nasty.

John Gilligan 'toasting' Veronica Guerin in the Alicante video nasty.

 Gardai at the scene where Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin was shot and killed in her car in Dublin

Gardai at the scene where Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin was shot and killed in her car in Dublin

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John Gilligan 'toasting' Veronica Guerin in the Alicante video nasty.

THE brother of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin said he wouldn't give John Gilligan the satisfaction by getting upset about a video of the evil thug celebrating in Spain on the 25th anniversary of her murder.

Twisted Gilligan, whose gang murdered the Sunday Independent crime journalist, held a sickening celebration with pals ahead of the anniversary of her death this weekend as they laughed and shouted "he didn't do it".

In the vile video which was posted on social media on Friday a haggard looking Gilligan is sitting with a number of pals at the poolside bar at the Dña Monse Hotel in Torrevieja, Alicante, laughing and smiling for the camera.

One of his pals boasts how Gilligan has bought two rounds for the group and says "it's not often you get two drinks off him" while others repeatedly shout "he didn't do it" in the background.

The group laugh and shout and raise their glasses in the video, which was posted on Friday ahead of the 25th anniversary of the murder yesterday.

Veronica's brother Jimmy said he wouldn't let Gilligan's sick celebration get to him.

"It just shows you things never change. People don't change over the years. You either are or you aren't and he is what he is.

"I wouldn't find it taunting. I just find it indicative of the man and the type of individual and character and immoral individual that I've always maintained he was. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of finding it taunting."

He said the video shows how Gilligan and his cronies haven't changed.

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Jimmy Guerin

Jimmy Guerin

Jimmy Guerin

"Their arrogance hasn't changed. Gilligan is awaiting charges on possession of firearms and dealing drugs in Spain so he certainly learned nothing with his 17 years behind bars. It just shows these people will always be the same and are so arrogant they believe they're above the law."

He said criminals like Gilligan would have no problem targeting journalists 25 years on from Veronica's murder.

"If you look at the video of Gilligan it's clear there's no remorse and in my view that calibre of individual wouldn't think twice of taking the life of a garda or a journalist or anyone who got in their way.

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"I think there's great credit due to the Sunday World and I mean that sincerely. The title kept up the push and your journalists keep up the challenge where others laid off and sat back. I think the Sunday World were always to the fore.

"In the 1990s we did let them slip away and when Veronica started writing about them and bring them into the news that's when she became a problem for them. I would never want to see anyone get in that situation again.

"I would always hope that any journalist writing in that area would be amply protected or be part of an investigation unit like Insight in the Sunday Times."

Earlier this week Gilligan turned and walked away when confronted by an Irish Daily Star journalist who asked him about Veronica's murder outside his property in Alicante.

Veronica was murdered by Gilligan's gang on June 26, 1996, as she stopped in traffic on the Naas Dual Carriageway.

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Murdered journalist Veronica Guerin

Murdered journalist Veronica Guerin

Murdered journalist Veronica Guerin

Gilligan was tried for the murder but was acquitted.

Hitman Patrick 'Dutchy' Holland fired the shots that killed Veronica while Brian Meehan drove the motorcycle. Another man, Paul Ward, was convicted in relation to the killing but that was overturned on appeal.

Meehan is the only gang member serving time for the killing and is currently serving a life sentence.

Gilligan was later convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to 28 years, which was reduced to 20 on appeal and was released in 2013 after serving 17 years.

There had been rumours that Meehan might get out on parole soon but Jimmy said he does not believe that will be the case.

"My understanding is the matter hasn't been considered and he hasn't even been granted a hearing for it."

Meehan is also looking to transfer to an open prison this year.

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John Gilligan

John Gilligan

John Gilligan

"The moving to an open prison is ticking and box and it doesn't mean somebody is getting out. I think any minister of the day would find it very hard to sign the order to release him because you can only release him by ministerial order for murder. You wouldn't want to be that minister."

He said while Meehan should be in for life he knows that won't happen so he should instead serve between 35 to 40 years.

Jimmy said that 25 years on from Veronica's murder the sad reality is that gangland crime is much worse today than it was then.

"It's sad but it's even worse now. The CAB stuff is great but the reality is they seize a watch and a car off a drug dealer and they go out the next week and buy another watch and car. What we need to do is start jailing them because the one thing they can't get no more than anyone is time. We really need to up the ante and start bringing convictions against people and not just seizures."

He said there is an argument for legalising drugs like cannabis to take the money out of the hands of dealers.

"In 1996, Gilligan had accumulated IR£30m from the sale of cannabis.

"His main business was cannabis. In today's money you're talking hundreds of millions.

"That's the type of money you'd be taking out of criminal's hands and that would hurt. I'd rather we were taking it out of their hands before it goes into it rather than taking the Rolex off their wrist afterwards."

Gilligan is no longer the big time player he was in the 1990s.

After his release from prison in 2013 he was shot by a gunman at his brother's home in Clondalkin and fled Ireland in terror.

At the time he had been threatened by Kinahan cartel gunman Trevor Byrne who had fought with Gilligan while they were both serving time in Portlaoise. No one was charged in relation to the gun attack.

Gilligan cut a pathetic figure as he was being wheeled onto a ferry looking frail as he left Ireland for the UK terrified he would be killed.

He later returned to Ireland during the Kinahan-Hutch feud after being given assurances by the Kinahan cartel he wouldn't be killed.

He then moved to Torrevieja, where he was arrested last October as part of an investigation into prescription tablets and marijuana being sent by post to the UK and Ireland.

Police found a .357 Magnum revolver during the search of his property. Reports at the time of his arrest said he soiled himself when Spanish armed cops raided his home.

He was held in custody after his arrest but has since been released on bail and could face up to five years behind bars if convicted.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who was friends with Veronica, was among the many who paid tribute to her yesterday describing her as a "fearless, pioneering journalist" who was killed by the criminal underworld she relentlessly sought to expose.

Members of the National Union of Journalists laid a wreath in her honour in Dublin Castle.

NUJ general secretary Séamus Dooley said "Veronica's death was an assault on media freedom and as journalists we honour her by standing up for the right of journalists everywhere to do their job."

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