Joe McCarthy is censured by US Senate – Cromwell Abandons Waterford Siege – Irish Prisoner Shooting

December 2: TODAY in Irish History:

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McCarthy and Welsh Exchange, June  1954

Joe McCarthy (right) in exchange with Joe Welch

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

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

WATCH: A Short History of Ireland





1649: Cromwell Abandons Siege of Waterford.

oliver cromwell siege of drogheda

The not very attractive Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell opts to abandon the siege of Waterford following a short siege. Cromwell was forced to withdraw partly because of stubborn resistance, but also due to disease and  dreadful weather. Some estimates suggest that he lost over two thousand men during this siege.

Since landing in Ireland in August, his forces had successfully besieged Drogheda and Wexford putting thousands to the sword during a brutal campaign.

Waterford was spared partly because Cromwell’s army was exhausted and short on food, he wintered his troops in Cork, Youghal and Dungarvan




1920: Shooting of Escaping Irish Prisoners

Civilian questioned by Black and Tans
Civilian questioned by Black and Tans

By late 1920, the rules of war (What are they you might ask?) had broken down on both sides as the increasingly vicious Irish War of Independence gained momentum. Both sides were guilty of atrocities some of which did provoke public comments. Hansard reports the following exchange in the English House of Commons about the shooting of “escaping” Irish prisoners:

 Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many prisoners in Ireland have been shot dead while trying to escape, according to police reports, up to the end of November of this year and during the present year; how many have been wounded; and how many of these were handcuffed at the time of their death or wounding?

Mr. GALBRAITH asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what is the total number of persons who have been shot at in Ireland when attempting to escape from custody; and how many of such persons have been wounded and killed, respectively?

Mr. HENRY According to the police reports the number of prisoners fired at while attempting to escape from custody within the period from 1st January to 30th November, 1920, is 11. Of these nine were killed and two wounded. One of the prisoners killed and one of those wounded are stated to have been handcuffed while attempting to escape.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when the bodies have been given to the relatives that in many cases those men have been found to be riddled with bullets through the head: how does he think that men can try to escape from police lorries; and can he inform me if all these cases have been investigated by a court of inquiry?

Mr. HENRY I must have notice of that question.

Mr. MacVEAGH Can the Attorney-General say whether the figure he has quoted includes those shot dead on the allegation that they were attempting to resist arrest?

Mr. HENRY he question put to me was as to the number of men shot whilst attempting to escape from custody.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman can say whether there has been an inquiry into these cases, in view of the very serious allegations made and reported in the newspapers throughout the country?

Mr. SPEAKER We are getting a long way from the question on the Paper.




1921: Treaty Negotiations

Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and the other plenipotentiaries return from London to present Britain’s proposed treaty draft to government colleagues. The seeds were being set for a bitterly divided cabinet which would eventually lead to civil war.


SEE: TREATY DRAFT with Michael Collins Notes




1954: Joe McCarthy is censured by US Senate

Joe McCarthy
Senator Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy is censured by US Senate for conduct unbecoming a Senator. Joe McCarthy, Republican Senator for Wisconsin, arch anti-communist, unfounded fear monger and generator of McCarthyism was the son of Bridget Tierney, from County Tipperary and Timothy McCarthy whose own father emigrated from Ireland.

McCarthy first came to national prominence when in February 1950, he stated at an Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia,  “I have here in my hand a list of 205 (State Department employees) that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”

Facts and human decency were never that important to the Senator. A media frenzy fed his ego, encouraging to make more and more (now seen as) outlandish statements. McCarthy though was sowing on fertile soil. America “knew” the USSR was evil and a major threat to the western way of life.

At the time, McCarthy had the support of many established and up and coming politicians including Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy who served as counsel for McCarthy’s investigative committee for a period of time. McCarthy terrified Washington and ruined many lives for a period of years with many unsubstantiated allegations. His power and popularity declined following the Army-McCarthy hearings.

Listen: Joe McCarthy on Meet the Press


The Army-McCarthy Hearings


READ: Covering Joe McCarthy by UPI journalist Alvin Spivak



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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


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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