Murdered Aidan 'The Beast' O'Driscoll turned life around after meeting 'love of his life'
A FORMER Real IRA commander was killed despite having turned his life around in recent years thanks to "the love of his life."
Mark O'Driscoll paid a moving tribute to his brother, Aidan (37), who was shot and killed in an execution-style attack in Blackpool, Cork last week.
Aidan O'Driscoll's Requiem Mass heard a moving eulogy from Mark who claimed his brother, who he referred to as 'Big Fella', had never been happier since he met and got engaged to Marion Ryan.
The couple were due to get married in 2017.
Mr O'Driscoll said that his brother had "a lot of bad press" over recent times.
But he said his brother had worked very hard for a new life with his fiancée.
"In the last years I had never seen him so happy or working so hard," he said.
"And that was all down to one person - the love of his life, Marion. You will always be a part of our family."
"Aidan will never be forgotten."
Mr O'Driscoll paid thanks to the emergency services, Cork University Hospital (CUH) staff and Gardai who had fought so hard to save his brother after he was shot.
He also thanked the pedestrians who had tried to comfort his injured brother saying it was " a great comfort" to the family knowing Aidan had someone trying to help him.
He was shot and killed in an execution-style murder on December 7 in Blackpool, Cork.
Aidan O'Driscoll, nicknamed 'The Beast', had survived a punishment shooting three years ago after being expelled from the dissident Republican group.
O’Driscoll had, for a time, served as the Real IRA chief of staff following the murder of his longtime ally, Alan Ryan, in Dublin in 2012.
Fr John O'Donovan told the congregation at St Oliver’s Church off Dublin Hill that he never forgot a Requiem Mass he said as a young priest in west Belfast for a shooting victim.
"Looking back over those years, I remember the great loss of that young man and the pain, hurt, loneliness and the grief it caused to those who loved him," he said.
"The futility of violence in all its shapes and forms, but especially the loss of human life and the pain it leaves behind."
"The years have passed by since that funeral, but with the shooting of Aidan last Wednesday, those feelings that I experienced many years ago re-emerge with his death, and that is the sacredness of human life – the hurt, pain and emptiness that it causes to those who loved Aidan in this life," he said.
"Since the death of Aidan last Wednesday, a lot of words have been written and a lot of words have been spoken about him, so here today with his loved ones and his extended family gathered around him in this sacred place and space for this community of Ballyvolane, we commend him to the love, the gentleness and forgiveness of God Our
Father when one day we will ask the same for ourselves."
The mourners were led by his fiancée, Marion, his mother, Nuala, and his siblings, Mark, Nicola and Ciara.
His father, Martin, died 19 years ago.
Mr O’Driscoll has two children, Saoirse and Chulann, from a previous relationship.
His passion for sport was reflected by emblems from Delaney’s GAA club, who he played football with for many years, as well as those of Glenthorn Celtic and Quinlan’s FC who he helped to coach.
His coffin was draped in the Delaney's GAA flag and club members formed a guard of honour as the coffin left St Oliver's Church.
The Offertory Gifts of a family picture, a pair of football boots and a betting slip were brought to the altar by his siblings Nicola, Ciara and Mark.
His nickname, ‘The Beast’, was earned from his ferociously competitive nature while playing for Delaney’s in Gaelic football in the Cork club championship.
Mr O’Driscoll was shot and killed as he walked on the Old Commons Road, just metres from Blackpool Church 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.
A gunman then walked up to him and shot him three more times.
Mr 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.
Gardaí now suspect as many as five people may have been involved in the murder plot.
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.
Supt Michael Comyns insisted Gardaí are keeping “a very open mind” about the murder.
However, the primary theory being examined is that Mr O’Driscoll was killed by his former dissident Republican colleagues.