'Beast' execution was ordered by senior dissidents
Gardaí believe sanction for the execution-style killing of Aidan 'The Beast' O'Driscoll came from senior dissident republican commanders in Dublin and Northern Ireland.
Cork gardaí investigating the brutal murder of the former Real IRA chief of staff believe he may have been targeted after he ignored repeated warnings to desist from associating with criminal elements in Cork and Limerick following his expulsion from the dissident republican group in 2013.
There were also concerns O'Driscoll (37) was trying to expand an extortion operation in Cork and Limerick with a number of former gangland figures.
Detectives are investigating reports one of the two masked gunmen involved may have associations with an active service unit of the Real IRA based in the mid-west.
The second gunman may have been brought to Cork for the killing from Dublin or Northern Ireland.
Gardaí believe there was significant logistical support for Wednesday's murder.
O'Driscoll was shot in an ambush attack just metres from Blackpool Church at 5pm.
The former Real IRA man was hit once in the back before the gunman approached and shot him three more times in the back and torso as he lay on the path.
He died in Cork University Hospital just over an hour later while undergoing emergency surgery.
It is now suspected dissident republican commanders sanctioned the killing - and instructed Cork volunteers to provide support for the killers.
"This murder showed a significant level of planning," a senior Garda source said.
"The victim may well have been under surveillance and there is no doubt that the killers either knew the area very well or had someone acting as a guide."
Father-of-two O'Driscoll, from Ballyvolane, had a lengthy list of enemies.