More than a crime story

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The murder of Dr Cronin has been largely overlooked by historians, yet the murder was more than a sensational crime story that titillated the American press in the summer of 1889. It devastated Clan na Gael, set back the cause of Irish freedom for more than a decade and had profound implications for the Chicago police. Though Sullivan evaded any charge, his dominant position in Irish America was destroyed. For six years he was absent from all Irish nationalist and republican events, eventually reappearing at a nationalist demonstration in Chicago in September 1895. The power of the secret society was smashed and Clan na Gael never truly recovered.

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