Gardai are investigating if a violent dissident Republican was shot dead because he was using the Real IRA name for his extortion activities.
Aidan 'The Beast' O'Driscoll (37) was shot up to four times on the street close to where he worked in Blackpool, Cork City on Wednesday.
'The Beast', who has multiple enemies from different criminal factions was considered an "evil b*****d" who was happy to engage in torturing his targets.
However, a main line in the murder investigation is that O'Driscoll was shot dead because of his involvement in the so-called 'New INLA', who have been extorting money from criminals and legitimate business people.
Gardai are also investigating the possibility that dissident Republicans from Limerick may have been involved in the planning of the murder after it was given the go-ahead by the hierarchy of the Real IRA.
'The Beast', from the Ballyvolane area of Cork, was targeted when he apparently ignored warnings issued in 2013 by his former associates about his ongoing activities. He was then the victim of a punishment shooting in Cork after he was accused of pocketing money earmarked for the Real IRA.
He was also expelled from the Real IRA and warned about his attempts to expand an extortion network in Munster.
Despite being knee-capped, he repeatedly refused to make a formal complaint or statement about the incident to gardai.
Shortly before 5pm on Wednesday, Mr O'Driscoll was ambushed as he walked near an apartment complex just metres from Blackpool Church. Detectives believe he realised he was walking into a trap and turned to flee.
However, he was struck once in the back by a round from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
O'Driscoll collapsed to the ground and a gunman calmly walked up to him and shot him at least twice more in the torso as he lay wounded.
He died just over an hour later in Cork University Hospital (CUH) as doctors undertook emergency surgery in a vain bid to save him. It is feared the two killers were previous associates of O'Driscoll within the dissident Republican movement and are part of an active service unit in Limerick.
However, gardai admitted there could be a gangland link given the number of enemies Mr O'Driscoll had within drug gangs operating in Munster.
O'Driscoll, who earned the nickname 'The Beast' from his days playing with Delaney's GAA club in Cork, was one of the most-feared figures within the dissident Republican movement.