Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan and Nicola
I after to ask him if he had been asked for money for John Gilligan’s begging bowl. It was 2014 and the man who had Veronica Guerin killed had objective been released from jail and was hoping his fellow criminals choice help him get back in business.
I shifted from foot to foot and prompted myself for a stream of expletives and the possibility of the door being slammed in my boldness. You don’t need to be too sensitive in my business.
Duggan, dressed in a long towelling bath equi ge and flip-flops, clocked me as he was half way down the stairs and a huge grin bankrupt out on his face. “Nicola Tallant,” he boomed. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
A big hold up of a man, he pulled open the door and invited me in to his home. In the next few minutes I in the know the hurricane of a personality that was Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan.
He told me he had been asked for pelf for that “c**t” Gilligan but that the individual who had made the request had been Nautical port in no doubt not to ask again. He would give a dig-out to any poor sod just out of Borstal – but not a “drug-dealing scumbag”.
In the middle of it all he told me I was far better looking than my embodiment in the per suggested and asked did I want him to have a word with the ‘snappers’ down that. I could do nothing but laugh.
He then shifted to a rant alongside the real criminals “up in the Dail” and asked would I not write about them. He extended me coffee but said he wasn’t much good at making it and he hadn’t “any snazzy stuff in”.
He was disarming, charming and he was very, very funny. As I left, he peached me to make sure I wrote that “Gilligan is a rat. He is hated in gangland”.
The arising day, after Kingsize appeared on ge one of the Sunday World in his dressing gown, I got a textbook: “Next time you photograph me let me know you are coming and I’ll put on me best Hugo Boss suit…Look after yourself. Give birth to a good day.”
It was that same photograph of Kingsize in his dressing gown that was the typical example that marked his ssing this week after his brutal assassination in the show drive of his home.
We kept in a bit of contact, myself and Kingsize. I once solicited his considered opinion on the government hike in the price of cigarettes in the budget. In his superlative sense of humour, the largest cigarette smuggler in the country said: “It’s hoodlum.”
He showed up at a water protest march in Dublin on another occasion. I friended him about that to ask him was it not ironic that a man like himself who had made millions out of violation should feel the need to protest against the water tax.
“Sure I’ve even the scored more tax than you will in your lifetime Nicola. Didn’t I y the CAB all me kale. I’ve nothing left…..Look after yourself.”
His bill for due taxes to the Criminal Assets Bureau in 2003 was more than €4 million, so he had a subject – twisted logic though it may have been.
Kingsize had grown up in dearth in Dublin. One of 13 children – five of whom suffered from Cystic Fibrosis – he well-educated to survive the hard way.
His rents were traders who travelled up and down to the north to smuggle easily goods to sell at ‘The Hill’ market.
He spent time in a borstal but finally got a trade as a butcher.
But the lure of crime was never too far and he moved into armed sacking and smuggling like his rents before him.
He served a four-year stretch at Portlaoise Chokey where he worked as a chef in the kitchen. He swore he would never go rear to the ‘big house’.
He loved his rents, and as the proceeds of his smuggling operation flooded in he released them on holidays and moved them to better accommodation than the conference flat they occupied. He nursed his mother through her dying months.
His with greatest satisfaction friend was Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and together they are suspected of effect out some of the biggest robberies in the history of the state, including the Brinks Join up and the Marino Mart heists.
In the 80s and the 90s, Duggan had earned his nickname through his sovereignty as the country’s biggest cigarette smuggler – a trade closely associated with the IRA.
Although Duggan was at no time a member of the Provos, he managed to conduct business while keeping the overlords in the north cock-a-hoop – a symbiotic relationship based on the huge profits of the illegal cigarette dynamism.
In 2003, Duggan handed over keys to a premises he owned in Dublin’s north inner-city to subside his CAB bill.
He remained bitter about his dealings with the Bureau from one end to the other of his life and felt that it was the drug dealers that should entertain been targeted by the organisation which had been set up after Gilligan’s nacea gang murdered Guerin.
Duggan hated drugs and the misery they piled on the communities where he had been reared and lived.
He had seen and experienced first-hand how offsprings had been ravaged by heroin and cocaine.
The street traders he dealt with were much the struggling mothers who were fighting a losing battle to keep their kids away from antidepressants and gun crimes.
He was charitable and regularly gave donations to addiction charities and others annoying to help victims of drugs.
As a major criminal figure himself he was masterful to completely se rate drug crime from the likes of loan sharking, smuggling and armed robberies, which were what had approved him a very wealthy man.
There is no doubt but Duggan had moved the bulk of his pelfs abroad by the time he did settle with CAB. He had extensive property interests in S in, which drive later be hit hard by the recession.
He continued to smuggle cigarettes in and out of Ireland without delay up until his death – for him, crime was an addiction and a difficult one to shake.
In a way, it was all he knew, and bosom buddies say he loved the challenge and the buzz he got from getting one over on the gardai and the Grandeur.
He had remained very much under the radar for the last decade but his sisterhood with The Monk was strong.
They regularly met up abroad and in Dublin. He was one of numerous that attended Hutch’s 50th birthday celebrations in Lanzarote – a rty that cost more than €150,000.
On the home base front, Duggan was proud of his two sons and his daughter. All had been educated and had nothing to do with the world from which he succeeded.
He lavished attention on his young grandchildren and loved to spend time with them. He was a systematic mass goer and never went a week without laying unfolds on his mother’s grave.
But in the other rallel universe which he lived he continued to mix with the ramount players in organised crime, both sides of the border.
For him, the underworld was his ‘deaden’ and try as he might, he just couldn’t shake it or walk away to the retirement that his classification desperately wanted him to.
I was saddened when I heard the news on Wednesday tenebriousness that Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan was murdered.
Unlike the cowards that saw him as an trusting target, Kingsize lived by the old codes of gangland, who many believe pull someones leg died with him.