Offaly Man Describes Call From Notorious Mobster

Written 9 months ago by Angel Croitor

In 1992,  John Deeley received a phone call from someone who believed they were related. It wasn’t until some time later that John realised – he was speaking with James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, a notorious organized crime boss, gangster and FBI informant of the Winter Hill Gang in the Winter Hill district of Somerville, Boston.

“I was in a hotel in Boston with a BBC crew – I was meeting up with in real life who was Santa Claus to me, a person I written to as a child – what I didn’t realise is that strange things happen – you go to America to meet Santa Claus and you also end up being approached by one of the world’s most ruthless mobsters.”

John Deeley was approached my many people as his Santa Claus story made a lot of headlines in Boston at that time. The original ‘Burke’ family emigrated from Ballinasloe to Boston in the late 1800s. John’s father side had the last name ‘Burke’. In a particular article the name ‘Deeley’ had a connection the Burke family and this drew a lot of attention from the Bostonians.

He recalls making numerous phone calls to the hotel from a lot of Irish-Americans to see if he had been related to them.

One particular call has remained with him forever. A gentleman rang him one day and introduced himself as James Bulger.

“He said he loved the story and he was very proud of his Irish origins – he wondered if I was related to a certain lady by the name of Deeley – I said I’m very sorry I only know about the Burke line of the family – he went on to tell me about himself to a limited degree.”

Bulger went on to boast about his brother William, who was a well known politician in Massachusetts. The irony was lost on John Deeley at the moment but he was sure to find out much later on in life.

John said to himself that he would note down all conversations with people who believed had a lineage to share with him.

“Some four years later – all this story broke – number one on the world’s most wanted list for the FBI – number one, Osama Bin Laden, number two, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – I went up the ladder into the attic of the house, dug out all my old papers, I had a file on Boston and sure enough there was the piece of paper with Bulger’s details.”

You can hear the full interview up above as John Deeley pieces together one of the most remarkable memories of his life.