Gardaí are to examine a number of phones and laptops seized during raids as part of their investigation into the murder of former Real IRA chief Aidan O’Driscoll in Cork last December.
The devices were obtained when about 25 officers searched three properties on the city’s northside and one on the southside on Wednesday.
“We have to go through what we have seized - phones and laptops to see if there is anything on them that can assist us in our investigation into the murder of O’Driscoll so it may take some time,” said a garda source.
No one was arrested during the operation which lasted around three hours and which was co-ordinated by Supt Mick Comyns of Mayfield Garda station.
He confirmed gardaí had to date taken more than 700 statements in their investigation into the killing. A total of six people - five men and a woman - have been arrested and questioned about the murder of the 37-year-old, a father of two, but no charges have yet been brought.
O'Driscoll, a painter from Glen Heights in Ballyvolane, was shot dead as he walked home from work on December 7th last. He had been dropped off by a colleague on Commons Road when two men approached him and shot him. A postmortem found he had been hit by four bullets from two handguns.
Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ because of his physical style of play when playing Gaelic football with his local Delaneys’ GAA club, O’Driscoll was convicted of Real IRA membership in 2006 and sentenced to three years in jail but his conviction was later quashed 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 before Ryan's death, gardaí believe O'Driscoll 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 O'Driscoll had been stood down for "unrepublican activities" which is believed to be a reference to the siphoning off of fund destined for the paramilitary organisation.
He was later disciplined by the Real IRA when he was shot in the legs by arrangement in Cork in 2013. He made no complaint to gardaí.
Gardaí said they are following a number of lines of inquiry in their investigation into the murder. It is understood that gardaí are focussing on a number of O’Driscoll’s former comrades in the Real IRA following his split from the group.