Irish War of Independence - Brutal Attacks - 17.May.1920

Irish War of Independence


After a weekend of rioting and outrage in Derry, the Evening Herald newspaper described as series of ‘brutal attacks’ carried out by a ‘band of blackguards’ on the night of 17 May 1920.


While the attacks were in the main perpetrated by nationalist ‘rowdies’, it was also evident that those of the Unionist persuasion also took part in the rioting and general lawlessness throughout the night. Fearing that the building would be attacked, a special guard was placed at the Convent of Mercy. Intermittent shots could be heard throughout the night, but no injuries were reported. A few days later, the Ulster Herald newspaper cautioned against the dangers of sectarianism creeping into Ireland, and warned that was happening in Derry was of no help to the national struggle for independence. In effect, the newspaper commented that the Derry riots were to the complete opposite of what republicanism stood for. After several nights of violence the victims included: Detective Sergeant Moroney, killed; District inspector McDonagh, scalp wound; John McCallon, ex-soldier, bayonet wound to the head; James McCarthy (aged 18), killed on Sunday night having been shot through the ling; Bernard Doherty, ex-soldier, injured, as were three others named Martin, Quiqley and Wray. It was claimed in several quarters that the unionists were well armed with revolvers and rifles. There was confusion in the days that followed over an order to proclaim the city, owing to the fact that the Lord Mayor of the city was a nationalist and had not taken an oath of allegiance to the crown.


Download Source: Evening Herald, 18 May 1920, page 1. See also Ulster Herald 1901-current, Saturday, May 22, 1920; Page: 5