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Thursday 21 September 2017

Weapons recovered in 'Beast' murder probe

O’Driscoll was a former chief of staff of the Real IRA
O’Driscoll was a former chief of staff of the Real IRA

Gardai have discovered weapons in a house where former Real IRA commander Aidan "The Beast" O'Driscoll (37) was believed to be headed before he was ambushed and killed.

Detectives hope a forensic and ballistic analysis of two weapons seized in Cork will yield valuable clues about a deadly faction feud within dissident republican ranks.

The weapons - a sawn-off shotgun and a US-made Colt semi-automatic pistol - were seized from a property on the Old Commons Road in Cork just hours after O'Driscoll was fatally shot.

Ambush

Detectives now believe O'Driscoll, a former chief of staff of the Real IRA, was on his way to that house when he was attacked at 5pm on December 7.

He apparently realised he was about to be ambushed, turned and attempted to flee.

However, he was shot once in the back and fell to the pavement before a gunman approached him and shot him three more times.

O'Driscoll died just over an hour later as he was undergoing emergency surgery at Cork University Hospital (CUH).

The two gunmen then fled in a waiting Nissan Almera car which was later found burned out off Redemption Road.

A second getaway car, a Vauxhall Astra estate, was found burned out in the Monard-Killeens area.

Gardai now suspect as many as five people may have been involved in the murder plan.

A few hours after the shooting, the weapons were recovered by gardai from the Old Commons Road property - and a detailed search of the house also yielded a quantity of ammunition hidden in the attic. Clothing and other items were seized for analysis. Detectives believe O'Driscoll's murder may be linked to a feud between dissident republican factions in Cork.

They have not ruled out the possibility that O'Driscoll was lured to the Old Commons Road by people he knew within the dissident republican ranks only to be ambushed and killed.

Information

Detectives renewed their appeal for information on the killing as they admitted people who were in the Blackpool area at the time have not yet come forward.

Gardai also suspect the killers, who are not believed to be from Cork, were assisted by a local on a motorcycle or car who acted as their "spotter".

Supt Michael Comyns insisted gardai are keeping "a very open mind" about the murder.

However, the primary theory being examined is that O'Driscoll was killed by his former dissident republican colleagues.

He was the victim of a punishment shooting in 2013 and was expelled from the dissident republican group.

O'Driscoll had also apparently been warned about his recent activities which included associating with known Limerick criminals.

The former Delaneys GAA player also had numerous enemies within Munster-based drug gangs.

"We are aware that a number of people who were in the area at the vital time have not made contact with gardai," a spokesperson said.

Gardai want to trace the movements of the getaway vehicles, a Nissan Almera and a Vauxhall Astra estate.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Anglesea Street Garda Station on (021) 4522000 or the Garda Confidential line (1800) 666111.

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