Gardaí investigating the murder of dissident republican Aidan O’Driscoll have appealed to anyone who may have seen up to three cars used by the killers to contact them.
Supt Mick Comyns who is heading up the investigation into the murder of father of two, O'Driscoll (37), appealed to anyone who may have seen the cars in the Blackpool area of Cork's northside or in the Monard area of Killeens near Blarney to contact them in confidence.
Supt Comyns said that gardaí believe that the two men involved in the shooting of O'Driscoll at about 5pm on Wednesday on the Old Commons Road in Blackpool, fled on foot to nearby Great William O'Brien Street where they got into a silver Nissan Almeria.
Gardaí believe the killers swung right up Seminary Road and abandoned the car and set it on fire at the junction of Seminary Road and Redemption Road, where it is believed they picked up their second getaway vehicle, a white Vauxhall van.
Gardaí believe the killers then drove along Redemption Road, though they are not sure whether they came back down on to the main Cork-Mallow Road at Spangle Hill, or took a back road via Na Piarsaigh’s GAA pitch and the Blackstone Bridge to get to Lower Monard in Killeens.
Gardaí recovered a white Vauxhall van at Lower Monard but they are anxious to speak to anyone who may have seen a red Opel Astra in Lower Monard at any stage on Wednesday to contact them at a special incident room set up at Watercourse Road garda station.
“We have received information that a red Opel Astra car was seen at the scene in Killeens and was gone soon after the Vauxhall van was abandoned there . We are not sure if that red Opel Astra van was involved but we are asking anyone with any information on it to contact us.”
At a press briefing on Thursday, Supt Comyns said gardaí were anxious to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Blackpool area between 4.30pm and 5.30pm on Wednesday to contact them at Anglesea Street Garda Station on 021-4520000.
Neither the Nissan Almeira or the Vauxhall van were fully burned out by the killers and gardaí are hoping that a full forensic examination by garda technical experts from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Dublin, backed up by colleagues in Cork, may help them identify the killers.
Shot from behind
Supt Comyns said they had a dedicated team set up on the investigation, interviewing witnesses, reviewing CCTV footage and carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the Old Commons Road, Redemption Road and Lower Monard areas.
“We have no idea why Mr O’Driscoll was targeted. Mr O’Driscoll was a son, a father and a partner and we will be using all the resources available to us to solve this heinous crime. We will treat any information that anyone wants to give us with utmost confidentiality,” he said.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that O’Driscoll was first shot from behind as he walked along the footpath on the Old Commons Road near the entrance to Orchard Court and that he tried to run across the road but was shot again on the roadway and on the opposite footpath.
Gardaí are still awaiting the results of a postmortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster, but it is understood that Mr O’Driscoll was shot four times by his killers who were armed with a handgun of some description.
From Glen Heights in Ballyvolane in Cork, O'Driscoll was convicted of Real IRA membership in 2005. He was sentenced to three years in jail, but his conviction was later overturned on a technicality.
He was convicted along with Ciaran "Kiwi" O'Dwyer and Ultan Larkin from Limerick and John Murphy from Kilbarry and Gerard Varian from Fairhill in Cork. All their convictions were later overturned.
He was closely aligned with former Real IRA leader Alan Ryan who was shot dead in Dublin 2012, and gardaí believe O'Driscoll who moved to Tallaght, was chief of staff of the Real IRA for a period.
However, in a statement issued by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement in 2013, the Real IRA said O’Driscoll had been stood down for “unrepublican conduct”.
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 Glen Heights in Cork in 2013.
He was taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment but he never made any complaint about the shooting. Gardaí believe the punishment shooting may have been carried out by arrangement.