Former chief of staff of Real IRA shot and killed in Cork city

Aidan O’Driscoll – nicknamed the Beast – shot three times near Blackpool Church

The scene of the  shooting on the Old Commons Road near Blackpool Village, Cork where Aidan O’Driscoll was killed. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

The scene of the shooting on the Old Commons Road near Blackpool Village, Cork where Aidan O’Driscoll was killed. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

 

Gardaí in Cork have begun an investigation into the fatal shooting of a former chief of staff of the Real IRA by at least two men this evening

Aidan O’Driscoll (37) – who was nicknamed the Beast – was shot three times by one or possibly two gunmen as he walked along the Commons Road near Blackpool Church on Cork’s Northside at 5pm.

It’s understood that Mr O’Driscoll – who was previously the victim of a punishment shooting by dissident republicans in 2013 – was shot in the lower body three times by the gunman.

According to Garda sources, it is understood that two men ran up behind Mr O’Driscoll near Orchard Court and at least one of them fired at him.

Gardaí do not believe the men were masked and it is unclear what type of weapon or weapons were used in the attack, which was witnessed by several passersby who raised the alarm.

Mr O’Driscoll was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for gunshot wounds to his lower back and kidneys. But he died just before 7pm.

One woman said she heard a sudden bang followed quickly by two other equally loud bangs.

“I thought first it might be someone setting off a firecracker. There was one very loud bang and then there were two more; and then we learned that somebody had been shot. It’s shocking.”

Inquiries

Gardaí from nearby Watercourse Road and Mayfield Garda stations cordoned off the crime scene, which is close to the Church of the Annunciation in the heart of Blackpool, and a technical team have begun a forensic examination.

Mr O’Driscoll was from Glen Heights in Ballyvolane. He was convicted of Real IRA membership in 2006 and sentenced to three years in prison, but his conviction was later overturned on a technicality.

He was closely aligned with former Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was shot dead in Dublin 2012, and for a period gardaí believe Mr O’Driscoll – who moved to Dublin – was chief of staff of the Real IRA.

However in a statement issued by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement in 2013, the Real IRA said that Mr O’Driscoll had been stood down for “unrepublican activities”.

It is believed he may have siphoned off funds destined for the paramilitary organisation and he was later shot in the legs in a punishment-type shooting in Cork in 2013. But he made no complaint to gardaí.

Investigation officers are open-minded on the murder but informed sources say that there has been a split in the dissident movement in Cork and Munster in recent weeks.

However gardaí are also looking at a possible drugs link as dissident republicans in Cork have claimed responsibility for the killing of at least two convicted drug dealers in recent years in the city.

Motive

Gardaí believe that dissident republicans have also engaged in extortion and their inquiries will focus on whether this may have been a motive in Mr O’Driscoll’s killing.

Meanwhile, gardaí are investigating whether a car found burned out near the North Monastery school about 1km away is linked to the shooting.

Investigating officers have requested the services of the State Pathologist’s Office and a postmortem is expected on Mr O’Driscoll’s body at Cork University Hospital on Thursday.

It is understood that Mr O’Driscoll who had been working in recent months as a painter and decorator had several children and his family were this evening being comforted by friends.