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The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
. The Act's
long title In certain jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and other Westminster Westminster is a district in Central London Central London (also known less commonly as London city centre) is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning se ...
was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or (inaccurately) as the Fourth Home Rule Act. The Act was intended to partition Ireland into two
self-governing __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In syste ...

self-governing
polities: the six north-eastern counties were to form "
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
", while the larger part of the country was to form " Southern Ireland". Both territories were to remain part of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed between 1801 and 1922. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into a unified state ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
, and provision was made for their future reunification through a
Council of Ireland The Council of Ireland was a statutory body established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's lo ...
. The Act was passed by the British parliament in November 1920, received royal assent in December, and came into force on 3 May 1921. The smaller Northern Ireland was duly created with a
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), st ...
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
and remained in the UK. The larger Southern Ireland was not recognized by most of its citizens, who instead recognized the self-declared
Irish Republic The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Unite ...

Irish Republic
in the ongoing
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary or ...
. The conflict resulted in the
Anglo-Irish Treaty The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known as The Treaty and officially the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the United Kingd ...
in December 1921. Under the treaty, Ireland would leave the UK (with the option for Northern Ireland opt out and remain in the UK) in December 1922 and become the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, now the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. The institutions set up under this Act for Northern Ireland continued to function until they were suspended by the British parliament in 1972 as a consequence of
the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A na ...
. The remaining provisions of the Act still in force in Northern Ireland were repealed under the terms of the 1998
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
.


Background

Various attempts had been made to give Ireland limited regional
self-government __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation without intervention from an external authority (sociology), authority. It may refer to personal con ...
, known as
Home rule Home rule is government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens. It is thus the power of a part (administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative re ...

Home rule
, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The First Home Rule Bill of 1886 was defeated in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
because of a split in the Liberal Party over the principle of Home Rule, while the
Second Home Rule Bill The Government of Ireland Bill 1893 (known generally as the Second Home Rule Bill) was the second attempt made by William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal ...
of 1893, having been passed by the Commons was vetoed by the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
. The Third Home Rule Bill introduced in 1912 by the
Irish Parliamentary Party The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP; commonly called the Irish Party or the Home Rule Party) was formed in 1874 by Isaac Butt Isaac Butt (6 September 1813 – 5 May 1879) was an Irish barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common ...
could no longer be vetoed after the passing of the
Parliament Act 1911 The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make l ...

Parliament Act 1911
which removed the power of the Lords to veto bills. They could merely be delayed for two years. Because of the continuing threat of civil war in Ireland, King
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother ...

George V
called the Buckingham Palace Conference in July 1914 where Irish Nationalist and Unionist leaders failed to reach agreement. Controversy continued over the rival demands of Irish Nationalists, backed by the Liberals (for all-Ireland home rule), and Irish Unionists, backed by the Conservatives, for the exclusion of most or all of the province of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
. In an attempt at compromise, the British government put forward an amending bill, which would have allowed for Ulster to be temporarily excluded from the working of the Act; this failed to satisfy either side, and the stalemate continued until overtaken by the outbreak of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. A few weeks after the British entry into the war, the Act received Royal Assent, while the amending bill was abandoned. However, the
Suspensory Act 1914 {{Infobox UK legislation , short_title = Suspensory Act 1914 , parliament = Parliament of the United Kingdom , long_title = An Act to suspend the operation of the Government of Ireland Act, 1914, and the Welsh Church A ...
(which received Royal Assent on the same day) meant that implementation would be suspended for the duration of what was expected to be only a short European war.


Developments in Ireland

During the Great War Irish politics moved decisively in a different direction. Several events, including the
Easter Rising The Easter Rising ( ga, Éirí Amach na Cásca), also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed Rebellion, insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week in April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicanism, Irish republicans against Br ...
of 1916, the subsequent reaction of the British Government, and the
Conscription Crisis of 1918 The Conscription Crisis of 1918 stemmed from a move by the British government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and ...
, had altered the state of Irish Politics, and contributed to
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout Ireland; both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The History of Sinn Féin, original Sinn Féin organisation wa ...

Sinn Féin
becoming the dominant voice of
Irish nationalism Irish nationalism is a Nationalism, nationalist political movement which, in its broadest sense, asserts that the people of Ireland should govern Ireland as a sovereign state. Since the mid-19th century, Irish Nationalism has largely taken t ...
. Sinn Féin, standing for 'an independent sovereign Ireland', won 73 of the 105 parliamentary seats on the island in the
1918 general election
1918 general election
. Its elected members established their own parliament,
Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community i ...
, which
declared the country's independence
declared the country's independence
as the
Irish Republic The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Unite ...

Irish Republic
. Dáil Éireann, after a number of meetings, was declared illegal in September 1919 by the
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (), or more formally Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, was the title of the chief governor of Ireland The chief governor was the senior official in the Dublin Castle administration, which maintained E ...
,
Viscount French
Viscount French
. When the Act became law on 23 December 1920 it was already out of touch with realities in Ireland. The long-standing demand for home rule had been replaced among nationalists by a demand for complete independence. The Republic's
army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch Military branch ...
was waging the
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary or ...
against British rule, which had reached a nadir in late 1920.


Long's committee

A delay ensued because of the effective end of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...

First World War
in November 1918, the
Paris Peace Conference, 1919 Paris () is the capital and most populous city of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Ov ...
, and the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
that was signed in June 1919. Starting in September 1919, with the British Government, now led by
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman and Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinat ...

David Lloyd George
, committed under all circumstances to implementing Home Rule, the British cabinet's Committee for Ireland, under the chairmanship of former
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
leader Walter Long, pushed for a radical new solution. Long proposed the creation of two Irish home rule entities,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
and Southern Ireland, each with
unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by ...
parliaments. The House of Lords accordingly amended the old Bill to create a new Bill which provided for two
bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
parliaments, "consisting of His Majesty, the Senate of (Northern or Southern) Ireland, and the House of Commons of (Northern or Southern) Ireland." The Bill's second reading debates in late March 1920 revealed that already a large number of Irish members of parliament present felt that the proposals were unworkable. For a variety of reasons all the Ulster Unionist MPs at Westminster voted against the Act. They preferred that all or most of Ulster would remain fully within the United Kingdom, accepting the proposed northern Home Rule state only as the second best option. After considerable delays in debating the financial aspects of the measure, the substantive third reading of the Bill was approved by a large majority on 11 November 1920. A considerable number of the Irish Members present voted against the Bill, including Southern Unionists such as Maurice Dockrell, and Nationalists like
Joe DevlinJoseph or Joe Devlin may refer to: * Joseph Devlin (1871–1934), Irish journalist and nationalist politician * Joe Devlin (American football) (born 1954), American football offensive tackle * Joe Devlin (footballer) (born 1927), retired Scottish pr ...
. Most Irish MPs were abstaining from Westminster, sitting in Dáil Éireann.


Two 'Home Rule' Irelands

The Act divided Ireland into two territories, Southern Ireland and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, each intended to be self-governing, except in areas specifically reserved to the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
: chief amongst these were matters relating to the Crown, to defence, foreign affairs, international trade, and currency. During a speech at
Caernarvon
Caernarvon
(in October 1920) Lloyd George stated his reasoning for reserving specific governmental functions: "The Irish temper is an uncertainty and dangerous forces like armies and navies are better under the control of the Imperial Parliament."
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
was defined as "the parliamentary counties of Antrim,
Armagh Armagh ( ; ga, Ard Mhacha, , "Macha Macha () was a sovereignty goddess Sovereignty goddess is a scholarly term, almost exclusively used in Celtic studies (although parallels for the idea have been claimed in other traditions, usually unde ...

Armagh
,
Down Down most often refers to: * Down, the relative direction opposed to up * Down (gridiron football), in American/Canadian football, a period when one play takes place * Down feather, a soft bird feather used in bedding and clothing * Downland, a typ ...

Down
,
Fermanagh Fermanagh ( ga, Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic political and social order, and associated culture, that existed in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Uls ...

Fermanagh
,
Londonderry
Londonderry
and
Tyrone
Tyrone
, and the parliamentary boroughs of
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
and Londonderry", and Southern Ireland was defined as "so much of Ireland as is not comprised within the said parliamentary counties and boroughs". Northern Ireland, amounting to six of the nine counties of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
, was seen as the maximum area within which Unionists could be expected to have a safe majority. This was in spite of the fact that counties
Fermanagh Fermanagh ( ga, Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic political and social order, and associated culture, that existed in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Uls ...

Fermanagh
and
Tyrone
Tyrone
had Catholic nationalist majorities.


Structures of the governmental system

At the apex of the governmental system was to be the
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (), or more formally Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, was the title of the chief governor of Ireland The chief governor was the senior official in the Dublin Castle administration, which maintained E ...
, who would be the Monarch's representative in both of the Irish home rule regions. The system was based on colonial constitutional theories.
Executive authority The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government that enforces law, and has Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In political systems based on the principle ...
was to be vested in the crown, and in theory not answerable to either parliament. The Lord Lieutenant would appoint a cabinet that did not need parliamentary support. No provision existed for a prime minister. Such structures matched the theory in the
British dominions The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other De ...
, such as Canada and Australia, where in powers belonged to the governor-general and there was no normal responsibility to parliament. In reality, governments had long come to be chosen from parliament and to be answerable to it. Prime ministerial offices had come into existence. Such developments were also expected to happen in Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, but technically were not required under the Act.


Constituency reform

The Act revised the constituencies in the
Redistribution of Seats (Ireland) Act 1918 The Redistribution of Seats (Ireland) Act 1918 was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of t ...
for elections to the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
. In place of the 105 UK MPs for all of Ireland in 1918, there were to be 33 UK MPs from Southern Ireland and 13 UK MPs from Northern Ireland. The same constituencies were to elect 128 MPs to the Southern Ireland House of Commons and 52 MPs to the Northern Ireland House of Commons. Elections for the two Irish parliaments took place in May 1921. No elections were held in Southern Ireland to the United Kingdom House of Commons as the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
was due to be established on 6 December 1922, less than a month after the
1922 United Kingdom general election The 1922 United Kingdom general election was held on Wednesday 15 November 1922. It was won by the Conservatives Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservat ...
.


Potential for Irish unity

As well as sharing the same
viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix ''vice-'', meaning "in the place of" and the French word ''roy'', meaning "king". A ...
, a
Council of Ireland The Council of Ireland was a statutory body established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's lo ...
was envisaged to co-ordinate matters of common concern to the two parliaments, with each parliament possessing the ability, in identical motions, to vote powers to the Council, which Britain intended should evolve into a single Irish parliament.


Aftermath


Northern Ireland

The
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of ...
came into being in June 1921. At its inauguration, in
Belfast City Hall Belfast City Hall ( ga, Halla na Cathrach Bhéal Feirste; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Bilfawst Citie Haw'') is the civic building of Belfast City Council located in Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It faces North and effecti ...

Belfast City Hall
,
King George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom There have been 12 monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England and the K ...

King George V
made a famous appeal for Anglo-Irish and north–south reconciliation. The speech, drafted by the government of
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman and Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinat ...

David Lloyd George
on recommendations from
Jan Smuts Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, (24 May 1870 11 September 1950) was a South African statesman, military leader, and philosopher. In addition to holding various military and cabinet posts, he served as Prime Minister of South Africa, prime m ...
Prime Minister of the
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
, with the enthusiastic backing of the King, opened the door for formal contact between the
British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
and the
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
administration of
Éamon de Valera Éamon de Valera (, ; first registered as ''George de Valero''; changed some time before 1901 to ''Edward de Valera''; 14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was a prominent statesman and political leader in 20th-century Ireland, serving several t ...

Éamon de Valera
. Though it was superseded in large part, its repeal remained a matter of controversy until accomplished in the 1990s (under the provisions of the 1998
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
).


Southern Ireland

All 128 MPs elected to the
House of Commons of Southern Ireland The Parliament of Southern Ireland was a Home Rule legislature established by the British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdo ...
in the May 1921 elections were returned unopposed, and 124 of them, representing
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout Ireland; both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The History of Sinn Féin, original Sinn Féin organisation wa ...

Sinn Féin
, declared themselves TDs (''Teachtaí Dála'',
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
for ''Dáil Deputies'') and assembled as the
Second Dáil The Second Dáil () was Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the lower house, and principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish legislature), which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann (the upper house).Article 15.1.2 ...
of the
Irish Republic The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Unite ...

Irish Republic
. With only the four
Independent Unionist Independent Unionist has been a label sometimes used by candidates in elections in the United Kingdom, indicating a support for Unionism in the United Kingdom, British unionism (not to be confused with trade unionism). It is most popularly associa ...
MPs, who had been elected for the
University of Dublin The University of Dublin ( ga, Ollscoil Átha Cliath), corporately designated the Chancellor, Doctors and Masters of the University of Dublin, is a university located in Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Irela ...
and fifteen appointed senators turning up for the state opening of the
Parliament of Southern Ireland The Parliament of Southern Ireland was a Home Rule legislature established by the Government of the United Kingdom, British Government during the Irish War of Independence under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. It was designed to legislate for ...
at the Royal College of Science in Dublin (now
Government Buildings Government Buildings ( ga, Tithe an Rialtais) is a large Edwardian building enclosing a quadrangle on Merrion Street in Dublin, Ireland, in which several key offices of the Government of Ireland are located. Among the offices of State located in ...

Government Buildings
) in June 1921, the new legislature was suspended. Southern Ireland was ruled, for the time being, directly from London as it had been before the Government of Ireland Act. The
Provisional Government of the Irish Free State The Provisional Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas Sealadach na hÉireann) was the provisional government for the administration of Southern Ireland (1921–22), Southern Ireland from 16 January 1922 to 5 December 1922. It was a transitional admi ...
was constituted on 14 January 1922 "at a meeting of members of the Parliament elected for constituencies in Southern Ireland". That meeting was not convened as a meeting of the
House of Commons of Southern Ireland The Parliament of Southern Ireland was a Home Rule legislature established by the British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdo ...
nor as a meeting of the Dáil. Instead, it was convened by
Arthur Griffith Arthur Joseph Griffith ( ga, Art Seosamh Ó Gríobhtha; 31 March 1871 – 12 August 1922) was an Irish writer, newspaper editor and politician who founded the political party Sinn Féin. He led the Irish delegation at the negotiations that prod ...

Arthur Griffith
as "Chairman of the Irish Delegation of Plenipotentiaries" (who had signed the
Anglo-Irish Treaty The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known as The Treaty and officially the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the United Kingd ...
) under the terms of the Treaty. Elections in June 1922 were followed by the meeting of the
Third Dáil The Third Dáil was elected at the general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary ...
, which worked as a
Constituent Assembly A constituent assembly (also known as a constitutional convention, constitutional congress, or constitutional assembly) is a body assembled for the purpose of drafting or revising a constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental ...

Constituent Assembly
to draft a
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
for the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
. For the purposes of British law the constitution was confirmed by the
Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 The Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 (Session 2) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed in 1922 to enact in UK law the Constitution of the Irish Free State, and to ratify the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty formally. Provisions ...
; the new state then came into being on 6 December 1922.


Consequences

The Treaty provided for the ability of
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
's Parliament, by formal address, to opt out of the new
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, which as expected, the
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of ...
brought into effect on 7 December 1922 (the day after the establishment of the Irish Free State). An
Irish Boundary Commission The Irish Boundary Commission ( ga, Coimisiún na Teorainne) met in 1924–25 to decide on the precise delineation of the border between the Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937 ...
was set up to redraw the border between the new
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, but it remained unchanged in return for financial concessions, and the British and Irish governments agreed to suppress its report. The
Council of Ireland The Council of Ireland was a statutory body established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's lo ...
never functioned as hoped (as an embryonic all-Ireland parliament), as the new governments decided to find a better mechanism in January 1922. In consequence of the establishment of the Irish Free State, the British parliament passed the
Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Act 1922 The Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Act 1922 (Session 2) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legis ...
, which made a number of adjustments to Northern Ireland's system of government as set up by the 1920 Act. Most notably, the office of Lord Lieutenant was abolished, being replaced by the new office of Governor of Northern Ireland.


Repeal

The final provisions of the 1920 Act remaining in force in the United Kingdom were repealed under the terms of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, after the
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
. In the Republic of Ireland, republic, the Statute Law Revision Act 2007 repealed the Act almost 85 years after Constitution of the Irish Free State replaced it as the basic constitutional law.The Irish Times, 10 January 2007, p 4.


See also

* Partition of Ireland


Footnotes


References


Sources

;Primary: * * * * ;Secondary: * * * * * *


Citations


External links


Government of Ireland Act 1920 (repealed 2.12.1999)
links to original and 1990s versions and related legislation, from legislation.gov.uk
HL/PO/PU/1/1920/10&11G5c67
digitization of first and last pages of the House of Lords copy of the act in the Parliamentary Archives
Government of Ireland Act 1920
full original text from BAILII
"Government of Ireland Act 1920"
matches in debates Hansard 1803–2005 {{DEFAULTSORT:Government Of Ireland Act 1920 Home rule in Ireland Southern Ireland (1921–22) British constitutional laws concerning Ireland Constitutional laws of Northern Ireland Unionism in Ireland 1920 in Ireland 1998 disestablishments in Ireland United Kingdom Acts of Parliament 1920 Repealed United Kingdom Acts of Parliament Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning Ireland Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning Northern Ireland