Joseph McCarthy helped to establish the Irish Volunteers in New Ross and became 1st lieutenant in the local company. Although he did not take part in any of the fighting in Co. Wexford during the Easter Rising, he was arrested shortly after the insurrection concluded. After being detained in Wexford and Dublin, he was sent to Wakefield Prison and was subsequently transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs and Frongoch prison camp, from where he was released in December 1916. He rejoined the Volunteer movement and rose to the position of Commandant in the New Ross Battalion in the South Wexford Brigade of the IRA.
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