PASSERS by who saw Aidan O’Driscoll gunned down in Blackpool tried to help save his life as he lay screaming in pain on the street.
One local resident on Old Commons Road told of hearing the dying man’s screams at around 5pm on Wednesday evening.
He said he had heard the shots but first thought the noise was caused by crackers
But he said the gardaí and ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and he could hear the dying man screaming in pain, until he was taken away in the ambulance top Cork University Hospital.
Gardaí said people in the area had done their best to help the slain man as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Officers were today continuing door to door enquiries in the Blackpool area and are getting access to CCTV from the area. It is expected there will be several hours of footage to trawl through for clues once all the CCTV has been gathered.
There are three scenes on which gardaí are focusing their investigation – the shooting scene on Old Commons Road, the junction between Seminary Road and Redemption Road, and a location near the Sunset Ridge in Killeens.
A silver Nissan Almera was found burnt out at Redemption Road shortly after the shooting while a white Vauxhall Astra van was also burnt out at Killeens. A red Opel Astra also seen in the Killeens area shortly after the shooting has also been linked to the murder by gardaí.
The victim, who was the father of two young children, had been on his way home from work with local builders and had just been dropped off in Blackpool when he was attacked. He also worked as a painter and decorator.
Sources said that while gardaí did not have information of an active threat on his life, he was known to have many enemies because of his links to dissident republicanism and suspected extortion of people in Cork city.
No weapon has yet been found, despite extensive searches by gardaí.
Gardaí investigating the murder discovered a stolen motorcycle but believe it was not connected to the incident.
Although the dead man’s links to dissident republicanism is being probed for a motive, gardaí said that they are considering other options too.
Superintendent Mick Comyns said: “We have to keep an open mind. We have no idea why this shooting took place. Mr O’Driscoll is a son, a father, and we will be using all our resources to solve this.”
He said gardaí believe there are several witnesses who have not yet given statements and he appealed to them to come forward.
Meanwhile, friends of the dead man in sporting circles in Cork were devastated by his death. He was managing the soccer team of Quinlan’s Bar in Blackpool and was also playing hurling and football with Delanys. He had previously played soccer with Glenthorn Celtic.
Delanys have cancelled their sporting activities this weekend as a mark of respect.
37-year-old Mr O’Driscoll was a native of Glen Heights Park in Ballyvolane and had returned to live there after spending time in Dublin and Limerick.
He was convicted of membership of the Real IRA in the Special Criminal Court in 2005 and sentenced to three years in prison. However, that conviction was overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2008.
He is believed to have had close links to Alan Ryan, the former head of the Real IRA who was gunned down in Dublin in 2012.
His relationship with the Real IRA soured in recent years and it is believed he was suspected of stealing money raised through extortion activities by the Real IRA.
His murder follows an incident in 2013 when he was shot in the legs and suffered serious injuries.
In November 2015, he was arrested and questioned by gardaí investigating the crucifixion of a man in Limerick. He was never charged in relation to that incident.
He was due to marry his fiancée next May.