Fresh witness appeal after former Real IRA chief gunned down as plans for funeral are made public

The key to identifying Aidan O’Driscoll’s killers may be stored in cameras of drivers who were in the Blackpool area of Cork City hours before last week’s brutal murder.

Fresh witness appeal after former Real IRA chief gunned down as plans for funeral are made public

The former Real IRA chief was gunned down around 4.50pm on December 7 but gardaí now know the men involved were in the area for several hours beforehand.

A fresh witness appeal came yesterday as plans for the funeral of 37-year-old O’Driscoll were made public.

He was shot after getting out of a vehicle near the entry to the Orchard Court estate on Commons Road. He was followed 20 metres across the road and may have been shot three more times as he lay on the footpath.

It is uncertain if O’Driscoll was the victim of former fellow-dissidents or a criminal gang with whom he might have crossed paths.

But there is evidence of a high level of planning as the silver Nissan Almera — 01 TS 1312 — which brought the killers to and from the murder scene was registered with a false name and address. The killers also switched getaway cars at a cul-de-sac so anyone giving chase could not follow them.

The murder inquiry has also established that the killers’ car was in the Blackpool area for several hours as it was seen in several places nearby from around 2pm. Gardaí hope more witnesses can help them with further details of its movements, particularly when it arrived in Blackpool and from what direction.

“There could be drivers of cars or taxis with dash cameras, or even cyclists, that might have picked up something. If anyone speaks to us, it will be dealt with in complete confidence,” said Superintendent Mick Comyns.

The question of how many guns, or what type, were used depends on the results of ballistics testing. It also remains unclear if the silver Almera was driven from the scene by one of the two men at the shooting scene, or by a third person.

Gardaí now know it drove to the back of the Church of the Annunciation at Blackpool Bridge and turned right into Watercourse Road. It took another right to Great William O’Brien Street, possibly through the narrow Berwick Lane or Madden’s Buildings.

The car was taken up the steep Seminary Road, abandoned and set alight. The culprits walked through bollards onto Redemption Road and got into a white Vauxhall Astra van — 99 G 12357 — in further evidence of detailed planning.

Gardaí believe the van might have drawn attention if it was driven in the Blackpool or Farranree areas some time before the murder. It is like an estate-model Astra car but with panels instead of back windows, and had a Vauxhall logo instead of an Opel insignia as it was a UK import.

It was later found burned out about 8km away in Monard, Killeens, near Blarney, and investigators hope to hear from anyone who saw this or two other cars in that area or Blackpool anytime between 2pm and 6pm last Wednesday. One was a red Opel Astra and the other a black Toyota Avensis, whose registrations are unknown but which have been firmly linked to the murder.

Any information can be given by calling Anglesea Street Garda Station on 021 4522000 or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111.

Laid to rest a week after killing

The funeral of murder victim Aidan O’Driscoll will take place on Thursday, more than a week after he was gunned down.

He is described in the death notice giving details of the arrangements as the darling fiancé and best friend of Marion, and a devoted dad to Saoirse and Chulann.

He is also survived by his mother Nuala, and siblings Mark, Nicola and Ciara.

The notice of his funeral arrangements refers to his past as a player with Delaney’s GAA and Glenthorn Celtic soccer clubs, and as manager of the football team at Quinlan’s bar in Blackpool.

It was his playing days with Delaney’s that earned him the nickname, ‘The Beast’.

There will be a rosary tonight at 8pm at O’Connor’s funeral home at North Gate Bridge, from where Mr O’Driscoll’s removal will be at 4pm tomorrow to St Oliver’s Church, Dublin Hill.

The funeral Mass takes place at 1pm on Thursday and he will be buried afterwards at St Catherine’s Cemetery, Kilcully.

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