“Legs” Diamond Gets Whacked – Kevin O’Higgins Assassinated – De Valera Elected

July 10: TODAY in Irish History:

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Jack "Legs" Diamond

Jack “Legs” Diamond

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1897: Jack “Legs” Diamond

Gangster, bootlegger, associate of Arnold Rothstein, Jack “Legs” Diamond is born Jack Moran to Irish immigrants Sara and John Moran in Philadelphia. Diamond was a nasty piece of work, unafraid to kill anyone who got in his way. His activities ensured bloody gang warfare, especially involving another east coast mobster Dutch Schultz who tried to have “Legs” whacked on a number of occasions. At the time, one of Schultz’s main enforcers was Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll who was born in Gweedore, County Donegal.

“Legs” Diamond was finally gunned down while in a drunken stupor following  a court case acquittal.

Jack "Legs" Diamond

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In his teen years, Legs was already known to law enforcement and had a criminal record for robbery and assault. Prohibition (January 1920) was a godsend to Legs and many other small time hoodlums. By 1923, he had a thriving bootlegging business. His associates included Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano and ‘Dutch Shultz.

He survived an assassination attempt in 1927 and two years later was acquitted for murder as witnesses failed to testify. October 1930, he survives another assassination attempt and another one in April 1931. His doctor told reporters  ‘The man is a medical wonder.’  Diamond liked to say “’They can’t kill Legs Diamond.”

Following another acquittal (for kidnapping and tortune) in December 1931, Legs partied at the Rain-bo  Room in Albany NY with his mistress, showgirl Kiki Roberts. Later that night, a drunk Legs returned to an apartment he was renting where his enemies finally disproved the myth “They can’t kill Legs Diamond.”

No one was ever charged with his murder, but strong suspicion rested on Democratic bigwig Dan O’Connell and local police who did not want an outsider interfering with their own illegal operations.

“Legs” Diamond was one of a number of Irish Americans who gained infamy during the prohibition era. Other Irish gangsters who met a less than pretty fate included:

Vincent Mad Dog Coll born in Donegal Ireland

Mad Dog Coll (Donegal born Vincent Coll) who was allegedly involved in everything from murder, bootlegging, kidnapping and hijacking. Coll was only twenty four when killed.

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Dion O'Banion

Dion (Dean) O’Banion, one time choir boy of Irish parents was shot to death in his flower shop by associates of Al Capone in 1924.

SEE “The Untouchables” episode featuring Jack “Legs” Diamond

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1917: De Valera wins Clare By-Election

Eamonn De Valera wins his first election, winning the Clare East by-Election as a Sinn Fein candidate. He refuses to take his seat in the House of Commons. The election was caused due to the death of Irish Nationalist MP Willie Redmond who like so many Irish volunteered to fight in the British Army believing it would bring Irish independence closer.

Eamonn De Valera
Eamonn De Valera

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1927: Justice Minister Kevin O’Higgins Assassinated

Kevin O’Higgins the Irish Minister for Justice is gunned down by Anti-Treaty activists on his way to Sunday Mass. Although the Irish Civil War finished in 1923, many on the losing anti-Treaty side harbored much ill feeling to people like O’Higgins who had ordered the execution of many fellow Irishmen during the Civil War including Rory O’Connor who had been Best Man at O’Higgin’s wedding. O’Higgin’s own father had been gunned down by the IRA in 1923. The brutal suppression of the Anti-Treatyites by the Free State Government brought a quick end to a vicious civil war, but also helped usher full scale democratic politics into the new country. By 1932, the leader of the Anti-Treaty movement Eamonn De Valera was forming his first Irish government.

Kevin O'Higgins best man at Rory O'Connor Wedding

De Valera, Kevin O’Higgins and Rory O’Connor at O’Higgin’s wedding

For FULL BIOGRAPHY of Kevin O’Higgins

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Kevin O’Higgins Memorial

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1956: Frank Stapleton

Irish soccer international Frank Stapleton is born in Dublin. Stapleton scored 20 goals in the 71 games he played for Ireland and over 200 times for both Arsenal and Manchester United.

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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

   

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