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On the move Limerick criminal John McCormack packs his bags after CAB battle backfires

The criminal will face a hefty legal bill topping €200,000 for his efforts to claim he made his money legitimately

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John McCormack spotted at his house.

John McCormack spotted at his house.

John McCormack spotted at his house.

Criminal John McCormack and his wife Helen Collopy have been packing up their Clare home after a challenge he made against a Criminal Assets Bureau case backfired spectacularly.

Our exclusive images show Limerick man McCormack, who has never been photographed without his mask or trademark flat cap, as he prepares to vacate the house which the Bureau say was bought with the proceeds of crime.

He has dismantled an aviary at the back of the house in Shannon and sources say he has been moving household items around in cars and vans for the past few weeks.

McCormack has been involved in drug dealing, stolen property and cash-in-transit robberies for years, the High Court heard during the CAB proceedings which he fought fervently.

The Bureau went after three of his homes and nabbed two.

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The Criminal Assets Bureau got McCormack’s Clare house.

The Criminal Assets Bureau got McCormack’s Clare house.

The Criminal Assets Bureau got McCormack’s Clare house.

They also identified a property empire in the Canary Islands which remain out of their reach for the moment, but sources say they are hoping to work with foreign partners in the future to chase further assets.

McCormack has been left fuming since he failed in both his High Court battle and his appeal on the decision made by Justice Alexander Owens.

While costs have yet to be ruled on, it is likely that he will face a hefty legal bill topping €200,000 for his efforts to claim he made his money legitimately.

In the meantime, the greedy dealer is packing up 26 Purcell Park, Shannon, which has been his home for more than 20 years. McCormack bought the home in 1995 with a mortgage of over IR£25,000, which was a significant loan for a jailbird who'd been locked up a year previous.

The High Court heard that McCormack was jailed for three years in 1994 and had been involved in serious crime since. However, despite claims that he was a reformed character since his term behind bars, the evidence was not accepted by Justice Owens.

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Wife Helen Collopy prepares to leave her home.

Wife Helen Collopy prepares to leave her home.

Wife Helen Collopy prepares to leave her home.

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Ten years after the house was bought the mortgage was cleared, but McCormack had left the country during that decade to live in the Canary Islands because his life was under threat.

In evidence, Detective Sergeant Kevin O'Hagan said that by 1999 McCormack was deemed a major figure in criminality in the Shannon area and remained with that status since.

Details of four houses in the Canary Islands were not given in court earlier this year, except to state that his wife, Helen Collopy, had been there as the Covid-19 lockdowns began and had remained in Fuerteventura in the aftermath.

McCormack sought free legal aid and was outraged when it was suggested he could sell up some of his Spanish properties to foot his own solicitor's bill.

He even told the court that he didn't want to sell as he wanted to maximise their value and the property market was uncertain during the pandemic.

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McCormack’s bid to challenge CAB failed.

McCormack’s bid to challenge CAB failed.

McCormack’s bid to challenge CAB failed.

Among his many convictions, McCormack has been found guilty of handling stolen property, possession of housebreaking implements, demanding money with menaces, burglary, aggravated burglary and malicious damage, the High Court heard.

A conservatory was added to the Purcell Park home in 2005 and as our pictures show the house has been kept in good condition ever since.

However, an aviary has recently been dismantled from the back of the property. At the land at Cloontra, outhouses, kennels, stables and a showjumping arena are in place and it is expected that it will be handed to the Bureau in the near future too.

Justice Owens did not issue a forfeit order on the property in Garryowen in Limerick, which McCormack purchased for €55,000 in 2011, as his daughter has lived there since with her child.

McCormack argued that a variety of business interests had paid for the properties but gardai described him as a 'leader in organised crime activities' including the supply of drugs, dealing in stolen goods and organising cash-in-transit robberies.

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