Gardaí may have foiled dissident republican attack in Cork

Three arrests in Cobh are not directly linked to murder of Aidan O’Driscoll, say gardaí

Two of the men were brought to Cobh Garda Station for questioning while the third was detained at Midleton Garda Station.  Photograph: The Irish Times

Two of the men were brought to Cobh Garda Station for questioning while the third was detained at Midleton Garda Station. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Gardaí investigating the activities of dissident republicans in Cork believe they may have foiled a possible attack on a rival faction.

They arrested three men and recovered two firearms and a quantity of ammunition in a raid on a house in Cobh.

Gardaí arrested three men – a 50-year-old, a 36-year-old and a man in his 40s – during a planned raid on a house at Chestnut Drive, Cluain Ard in Cobh shortly before 8pm on Wednesday night as part of an ongoing operation against dissident republicans in Cork.

Gardaí searched the house and recovered a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun and ammunition for both weapons. Both guns and ammunition were removed from the scene for forensic and ballistic tests.

The raid was not directly linked to the murder of former self-styled chief of staff of the Real IRA, Aidan O’Driscoll (37) in Blackpool last week. However it is understood the raid stemmed from concerns arising out of Mr O’Driscoll’s murder about a possible feud among dissident republicans.

Mr O’Driscoll had aligned himself with a faction of the New IRA in Cork and it is understood that gardaí believe the three men arrested were part of the same grouping who split from the Real IRA in the city.

A Garda source said it was unclear at this stage whether the three New IRA suspects were planning a retaliatory attack on figures in the Real IRA whom they blame for Mr O’Driscoll’s murder or whether they were arming themselves in anticipation of being attacked by their former comrades.

“It would be speculation at this point to say what exactly was planned but the fact that we apprehended three people with guns and ammunition, it’s reasonable to assume that something of a criminal nature was being planned and indeed may have been imminent but now has been foiled,” said one source.

Gardaí followed up the raid with searches of two houses in Cork city where two of the suspects live but nothing was found. They also questioned but did not arrest a woman in her 30s who had driven the two men from the city to Cobh on Wednesday night.

The men were arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act which allows for detention for up to 72 hours. Two of the men were brought to Cobh Garda station for questioning while the third was detained at Midleton Garda station.

Checkpoints

Gardaí investigating the murder of Mr O’Driscoll mounted a number of checkpoints in the Blackpool area around 5pm on Wednesday in the hope of identifying possible new witnesses.

It is understood that gardaí on checkpoint duty have identified a number of people who were in the Old Commons Road area at the time of the killing and have taken statements from them but they believe there are still witnesses who have not yet come forward.