Montreal's Irish Mafia

D'Arcy O'Connor uncovers the history of Montreal's West End Gang, known for their daring robberies and complicated smuggling operations.

D'Arcy O'Connor

From the early days as hired muscle for the Italian and Jewish mafias, tunneling into bank vaults in the 1950s and 1960s, to the legendary truck heists and bank stick-ups in the 1970s, Montreal's Irish mafia — otherwise known as the West End Gang — has managed to pull off some of the most daring and logistically complicated robberies and smuggling operations in Canadian history. (From HarperCollins)

From the book

During the mid to late 19th century, primarily between 1846 and 1850, an estimated three million Irish immigrants fled The Hunger or, as it was also known, the Great Potato Famine, a fungal infection that ravaged their native soil. Most sailed across the Atlantic in order to take up roots in North America where, they were assured, there was arable land to be tilled, sown and harvested, In addition, they were counting on ample employment in the burgeoning urban areas. For the most part, these desperate people arrived with little more than the clothes on their back, and some with a brood of malnourished children, to establish new roots in cities like New York, Boston and Montreal.

From Montreal's Irish Mafia by D'Arcy O'Connor ©2013. Published by HarperCollins.