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IRA Incident, 1921

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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IRA Incident, 1921

An 18th century Bailie confronts a poster with 20th century news, in this cartoon published in The Bailie in 1921.

The cartoon reflects the outrage felt by many Glaswegians at a violent attempt to free an IRA prisoner from police custody. Frank Carty, a senior Irish Republican Army officer wanted by the Irish police, was arrested in Glasgow. A police motor van was taking him from the Central Police Court to Duke Street Prison when thirty armed men attacked it in Cathedral Square. Inspector Robert Johnston was killed in the first volley of shots and Detective Sergeant George Stirton was wounded as he and another detective returned fire. The attempt to release the prisoner failed.

Thirty-four people were later arrested, thirteen of whom were sent for trial. The trial lasted eleven days and hinged on the question of identification of the accused. The jury accepted the plea of alibi for the defendants, and they were released. Carty was sent to Dublin.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 052 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

bailies, cartoons, Central Police Court, detectives, Duke Street Prison, gunfights, IRA, Irish nationalism, Irish Republican Army, Irish republicanism, murders, police, sectarianism, Sinn Fein, terrorism, trials

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