Thursday 14 December 2017

Gardaí investigating murder of Aidan 'The Beast' O'Driscoll search Cork properties

Aidan O'Driscoll
Aidan O'Driscoll
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

GARDAÍ are searching a number of properties across Cork as part of their investigation into the brutal murder of Aidan ‘The Beast’ O’Driscoll (37).

Mr O'Driscoll was ambushed and killed last Christmas in what detectives fear was a targeted attack by his old dissident Republican colleagues in Cork.

Earlier this month Gardai arrested a number of people in the greater Cork area for questioning in relation to the killing.

All were subsequently released without charge.

It is understood the searches today are related to those arrests.

One source said the searches of properties on both the northside and southside of Cork are part of the ongoing trawl for evidence in relation to the killing.

No arrests are expected to be made in connection with today's operation which is being led by Mayfield and Watercourse Road officers.

While detectives suspect gunmen from Limerick or Dublin may have been involved in the brutal killing last December, they are now convinced the murder was orchestrated by Mr O’Driscoll’s former Cork associates in an elaborate double-cross.

A 40-strong team of detectives at Watercourse Road Garda Station are now investigating the killing which occurred on a busy Blackpool street on December 7 last.

Dissident Republic activities are now a priority area for Gardaí in Munster amid fears of an upsurge in violence following the murder.

A senior garda source said they now believe Mr O’Driscoll fell victim to a power struggle within the dissident Republican ranks in Cork – with the former Chief of Staff also being targeted because of personal feuds with a number of other Real IRA officials.

“This was a particularly shocking killing because Mr O’Driscoll was shot in a quiet residential area on a busy street,” a source said.

“But it was also a very carefully planned murder because of the manner in which the killers fled from the scene.”

Up to four vehicles were used in the getaway – two of which, a Nissan Almera and Vauxhall Astra van, were found burned out a couple of hours after the shooting on Redemption Road in the city and at Killeens.

However, a third vehicle, an Opel Astra, used by the killers to flee from Killeens, was only found shortly before Christmas in a remote ravine in Nadd.

A fourth vehicle was then used by the killers to flee from Nadd, possibly a Toyota Avensis.

Gardaí also suspect a motorcyclist may have operated as ‘a spotter’ for the gunmen waiting to ambush Mr O’Driscoll.

Two weapons were also seized by detectives during a search of houses in Cork.

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 Mr O’Driscoll was fatally shot.

Detectives are also considering whether Mr O’Driscoll may have recognised one of his attackers seconds before he was shot.

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).

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.

Mr O’Driscoll was the victim of a punishment shooting in 2013 and was expelled from the dissident Republican group.

He 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 so detectives are not willing to rule out revenge as the motive for the killing.

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

“It has been established that the getaway car used, a Nissan Almera registration number 01 TS 1312, was in the general Blackpool area for a number of hours prior to the murder.”

“We are also appealing for any taxi driver, driver or cyclists who have a Dashcam and were in the Blackpool area from 2pm onwards to contact Gardaí.”

“A further appeal is being made for any witness who may have seen a white Vauxhall Astra van registration number 99 G 12357, a red Opel Astra car (reg no unknown) or a black Toyota Avensis (reg no unknown) on the day of the murder in the Blackpool area from 2pm to 5pm or in the Killeens area from 2pm to 6pm.”

Special posters have been placed in Blackpool near the scene of the murder appealing for public information.

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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