HOME

TheInfoList




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 State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
established in 1922 under 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 Kingdo ...
of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year
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 ...
between the forces 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 United ...

Irish Republic
, the
Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary organisations in Ireland throughout the 20th and the 21st centuries. Organisations going by this name have been dedicated to irredentism through Irish republicanism, the be ...
(IRA), and
British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within the of the s and their subdivisions (such as the , , , or ). Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capa ...

British Crown
forces. The Free State was established as a
Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

Dominion
of the
British Commonwealth of Nations British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...
. It comprised 26 of the 32
counties of Ireland The counties of Ireland (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 Unite ...

counties of Ireland
.
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usa ...

Northern Ireland
, which comprised the remaining six counties, exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new state. The Free State government consisted of the Governor-General, the representative of the king, and the Executive Council (cabinet), which replaced both the revolutionary Dáil Government and the
Provisional Government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a S ...
set up under the Treaty.
W. T. Cosgrave William Thomas Cosgrave (6 June 1880 – 16 November 1965) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932, Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a ...
, who had led both of these governments since August 1922, became the first President of the Executive Council (prime minister). The
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country ...
or legislature consisted of
Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the , and principal chamber, of the (Irish legislature), which also includes the and (the ).Article 15.1.2º of the reads: "The Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a House of Represent ...
(the lower house) and
Seanad Éireann Seanad Éireann ( , ; "Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamb ...
(the upper house), also known as the Senate. Members of the Dáil were required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the Free State and to declare fidelity to the king. The oath was a key issue for opponents of the Treaty, who refused to take the oath and therefore did not take their seats. Pro-Treaty members, who formed
Cumann na nGaedheal Cumann na nGaedheal (; "Society of the Gaels The Gaels (; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island ...
in 1923, held an effective majority in the Dáil from 1922 to 1927, and thereafter ruled as a minority government until 1932. In 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is but has three parts, consisting of the ...
relinquished nearly all of its remaining authority to legislate for the Free State and the other dominions. This had the effect of making the dominions fully sovereign states. The Free State thus became the first internationally recognised independent Irish state since the
Irish Confederation The Irish Confederation was an Irish nationalist independence movement, established on 13 January 1847 by members of the Young Ireland movement who had seceded from Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association. Historian T. W. Moody described it as "the ...
of the 1640s. In the first months of the Free State, the
Irish Civil War The Irish Civil War ( ga, Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann; 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923) was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland I ...
was waged between the newly established National Army and the
anti-Treaty IRA 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 ...
, who refused to recognise the state. The Civil War ended in victory for the government forces, with the anti-Treaty forces dumping their arms in May 1923. The anti-Treaty political party,
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, ...

Sinn Féin
, refused to take its seats in the Dáil, leaving the relatively small
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
as the only opposition party. In 1926, when Sinn Féin president
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
failed to have this policy reversed, he resigned from Sinn Féin and founded
Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil (, ; meaning 'Soldiers of Destiny' or 'Warriors of Fál'), officially Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party ( ga, audio=ga-Fianna Fáil.ogg, Fianna Fáil – An Páirtí Poblachtánach), is a conservative Conserva ...
. Fianna Fáil entered the Dáil following the 1927 general election, and entered government after the 1932 general election, when it became the largest party. De Valera abolished the Oath of Allegiance and embarked on an economic war with the UK. In 1937 he drafted a new
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 ...
, which was passed by a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
in July of that year. The Free State came to an end with the coming into force of the new constitution on 29 December 1937 when the state took the name "Ireland".


Background

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 and its aftermath caused a profound shift in public opinion towards the republican cause in Ireland. In the December 1918 General Election, the republican
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 ...
party won a large majority of the Irish seats in the
British parliament 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 kind ...
: 73 of the 105 constituencies returned Sinn Féin members (25 uncontested). The elected Sinn Féin MPs, rather than take their seats at Westminster, set up their own assembly, known as
Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the , and principal chamber, of the (Irish legislature), which also includes the and (the ).Article 15.1.2º of the reads: "The Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a House of Represent ...
(Assembly of Ireland). It affirmed the formation of an Irish Republic and passed a
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...

Declaration of Independence
. The subsequent
War of Independence Conflicts called war of independence or independence war include: * Algerian War of Independence The Algerian War, also known as the Algerian Revolution or the Algerian War of Independence,( ar, الثورة الجزائرية '; '' ber, Tagra ...
, fought between the
Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary organisations in Ireland throughout the 20th and the 21st centuries. Organisations going by this name have been dedicated to irredentism through Irish republicanism, the be ...
(IRA) and British security forces, continued until July 1921 when a truce came into force. By this time 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 ...
had opened, established under the
Government of Ireland Act 1920 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 a deliberative assembly with the au ...
, presenting the republican movement with a ''fait accompli'' and guaranteeing the British presence in Ireland. In October negotiations opened in London between members of the British government and members of the Dáil, culminating in the signing of 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 Kingdo ...
on 6 December 1921.Lee (1989), p. 50 The Treaty allowed for the creation of a separate state to be known as the Irish Free State, with
dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

dominion
status, within the then
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
—a status equivalent to Canada. The Parliament of Northern Ireland could, by presenting an address to the king, opt not to be included in the Free State, in which case a Boundary Commission would be established to determine where the boundary between them should lie. Members of the parliament of the Free State would be required to take an oath of allegiance to the king, albeit a modification of the oath taken in other dominions. The Dáil ratified the Treaty on 7 January 1922, causing a split in the republican movement. A
Provisional Government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a S ...
was formed, with Michael Collins as chairman.


Northern Ireland "opts out"

The Treaty, and the legislation introduced to give it legal effect, implied that
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usa ...

Northern Ireland
would be a part of the Free State on its creation, but in reality the terms of the Treaty applied only to the 26 counties, and the government of the Free State had neither ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' nor ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' power in Northern Ireland. The Treaty was given legal effect in the United Kingdom through 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 ...
. That act, which established the Free State, allowed Northern Ireland to "opt out" of it. Under Article 12 of the Treaty, Northern Ireland could exercise its option by presenting an address to the king requesting not to be part of the Irish Free State. Once the Irish Free State Constitution Act was passed on 5 December 1922, the Houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland had one month (dubbed the "Ulster month") to exercise this option during which month the Government of Ireland Act continued to apply in Northern Ireland. Realistically it was always certain that Northern Ireland would opt out of the Free State. The
Prime Minister of Northern Ireland The Prime Minister of Northern Ireland was the head of the Government of Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972. No such office was provided for in the Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. ...
,
Sir James Craig James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon PC PC (NI) DL (8 January 1871 – 24 November 1940), was a prominent Irish unionist Unionism in Ireland is a political tradition on the island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...
, speaking in the Parliament in October 1922 said that "when 6 December is passed the month begins in which we will have to make the choice either to vote out or remain within the Free State". He said it was important that that choice be made as soon as possible after 6 December 1922 "in order that it may not go forth to the world that we had the slightest hesitation". On the following day, 7 December 1922, the Parliament resolved to make the following address to the king so as to opt out of the Free State: Discussion in the Parliament of the address was short. Prime Minister Craig left for London with the memorial embodying the address on the night boat that evening, 7 December 1922. The king received it the following day, ''The Times'' reporting: If the Parliament of Northern Ireland had not made such a declaration, under Article 14 of the Treaty Northern Ireland, its Parliament and government would have continued in being but the
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country ...
would have had jurisdiction to legislate for Northern Ireland in matters not delegated to Northern Ireland under the Government of Ireland Act. This, of course, never came to pass. On 13 December 1922 Prime Minister Craig addressed the Parliament informing them that the king had responded to its address as follows:


Governmental and constitutional structures

The Treaty established that the new state would be a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
, with the
Governor-General of the Irish Free State The Governor-General of the Irish Free State ( ga, Seanascal Shaorstát Éireann) was the official representative of the sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Ol ...
as representative of the Crown. The ''
Constitution of the Irish Free State A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an ...
'' made more detailed provision for the state's system of government, with a three-tier parliament, called the
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country ...
, made up of the king and two houses, Dáil Éireann and
Seanad Éireann Seanad Éireann ( , ; "Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamb ...
(the Irish Senate). Executive authority was vested in the king, with the Governor-General as his representative. He appointed a cabinet called the Executive Council to "aid and advise" him. The Executive Council was presided over by a prime minister called the President of the Executive Council. In practice, most of the real power was exercised by the Executive Council, as the Governor-General was almost always bound to act on the advice of the Executive Council.


Representative of the Crown

The office of Governor-General of the Irish Free State replaced the previous
Lord Lieutenant A lord-lieutenant () is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy area Lieutenancy areas are the separate areas of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as ...
, who had headed English and British administrations in Ireland since the Middle Ages. Governors-General were appointed by the king initially on the advice of the British Government, but with the consent of the Irish Government. From 1927, the Irish Government alone had the power to advise the king whom to appoint.


Oath of Allegiance

As with all dominions, provision was made for an Oath of Allegiance. Within dominions, such oaths were taken by parliamentarians personally towards the monarch. The Irish Oath of Allegiance was fundamentally different. It had two elements; the first, an ''oath to the Free State, as by law established'', the second part a promise of ''fidelity, to His Majesty, King George V, his heirs and successors''. That second fidelity element, however, was qualified in two ways. It was to the King ''in'' Ireland, not specifically to the King of the United Kingdom. Secondly, it was to the king explicitly in his role as part of the Treaty settlement, not in terms of pre-1922 British rule. The Oath itself came from a combination of three sources, and was largely the work of Michael Collins in the Treaty negotiations. It came in part from a draft oath suggested prior to the negotiations by President de Valera. Other sections were taken by Collins directly from the Oath of the
Irish Republican Brotherhood The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB; ) was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland between 1858 and 1924.McGee, p. 15. Its counterpart in the United States ...
(IRB), of which he was the secret head. In its structure, it was also partially based on the form and structure used for 'Dominion status'. Although 'a new departure', and notably indirect in its reference to the monarchy, it was criticised by nationalists and republicans for making any reference to the Crown, the claim being that it ''was'' a direct oath to the Crown, a fact arguably incorrect by an examination of its wording, but in 1922 Ireland and beyond, many argued that the fact remained that as a dominion the King (and therefore the British) was still Head of State and that was the practical reality that influenced public debate on the issue. The Free State was not a republic. The Oath became a key issue in the resulting
Irish Civil War The Irish Civil War ( ga, Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann; 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923) was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland I ...
that divided the pro and anti-treaty sides in 1922–23.


Irish Civil War

The compromises contained in the agreement caused the
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
in the 26 counties in June 1922 – April 1923, in which the pro-Treaty
Provisional Government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a S ...
defeated the anti-Treaty Republican forces. The latter were led, nominally, by
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
, who had resigned as President of the Republic on the treaty's ratification. His resignation outraged some of his own supporters, notably Seán T. O'Kelly, the main Sinn Féin organizer. On resigning, he then sought re-election but was defeated two days later on a vote of 60–58. The pro-Treaty Arthur Griffith followed as President of the Irish Republic. Michael Collins was chosen at a meeting of the members elected to sit in 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 ...
(a body set up under the Government of Ireland Act 1920) to become
Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State The Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State was a transitional post established in January 1922, lasting until the creation of the Irish Free State in December 1922. The Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 was passed by the I ...
in accordance with the Treaty. 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 legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
in June gave overwhelming support for the pro-Treaty parties.
W. T. Cosgrave William Thomas Cosgrave (6 June 1880 – 16 November 1965) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932, Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a ...
's Crown-appointed Provisional Government effectively subsumed Griffith's republican administration with the death of both Collins and Griffith in August 1922.


"Freedom to achieve freedom"


Governance

The following were the principal parties of government of the Free State between 1922 and 1937: *
Cumann na nGaedheal Cumann na nGaedheal (; "Society of the Gaels The Gaels (; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island ...
under W. T. Cosgrave (1922–32) *
Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil (, ; meaning 'Soldiers of Destiny' or 'Warriors of Fál'), officially Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party ( ga, audio=ga-Fianna Fáil.ogg, Fianna Fáil – An Páirtí Poblachtánach), is a conservative Conserva ...
under Éamon de Valera (1932–37)


Constitutional evolution

Michael Collins described the Treaty as "the freedom to achieve freedom". In practice, the Treaty offered most of the symbols and powers of independence. These included a functioning, if disputed,
parliamentary democracy A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy fr ...
with its own executive, judiciary and written constitution which could be changed by the Oireachtas. Although an
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
had not been on offer, the Treaty still afforded Ireland more internal independence than it had possessed in over 400 years. However, a number of conditions existed: * The king remained king ''in'' Ireland; * Britain retained the so-called strategic
Treaty Ports Treaty ports (; ja, 条約港) were the port cities in China and Japan that were opened to foreign trade mainly by the unequal treaties Unequal treaty is the name given by the Chinese to a series of treaties signed between the Qing dynasty ...

Treaty Ports
on Ireland's south and north-west coasts which were to remain occupied by the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
; * Prior to the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the UK government continued to have a role in Irish governance. Officially the representative of the king, the Governor-General also received instructions from the British Government on his use of the Royal Assent, namely a Bill passed by the Dáil and Seanad could be Granted Assent (signed into law), Withheld (not signed, pending later approval) or Denied (vetoed). The
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
to the first Governor-General, Tim Healy, explicitly named Bills that were to be rejected if passed by the Dáil and Seanad, such as any attempt to abolish the Oath. In the event, no such Bills were ever introduced, so the issue was moot. * As with the other dominions, the Free State had a status of association with the UK rather than being completely legally independent from it. However the meaning of 'Dominion status' changed radically during the 1920s, starting with the
Chanak crisis The Chanak Crisis ( tr, Çanakkale Krizi), also called the Chanak Affair and the Chanak Incident, was a war scare in September 1922 between the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the ...
in 1922 and quickly followed by the directly negotiated Halibut Treaty of 1923. The 1926 Imperial Conference declared the equality ncluding the UKof all member states of the Commonwealth. The Conference also led to a reform of the king's title, given effect by the ''
Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 (17 & 18 Geo. 5 c. 4) was an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power ...
'', which changed the king's royal title so that it took account of the fact that there was no longer a
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
. The king adopted the following style by which he would be known in all of his Empire: ''By the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India''. That was the king's title in Ireland just as elsewhere in his Empire. *In the conduct of external relations, the Free State tried to push the boundaries of its status as a Dominion. It 'accepted' credentials from international ambassadors to Ireland, something no other dominion up to then had done. It registered the treaty with the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
as an international document, over the objections of the United Kingdom, which saw it as a mere ''internal'' document between a dominion and the United Kingdom. Entitlement of citizenship of the Free State was defined in the Irish Free State Constitution, but the status of that citizenship was contentious. One of the first projects of the Free State was the design and production of the Great Seal of Saorstát Éireann which was carried out on behalf of the Government by
Hugh Kennedy Hugh Edward Kennedy KC (11 July 1879 – 1 December 1936) was an Irish Cumann na nGaedheal Cumann na nGaedheal (; "Society of the Gaels The Gaels (; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native t ...

Hugh Kennedy
. The Statute of Westminster of 1931, embodying a decision of an Imperial Conference, enabled each dominion to enact new legislation or to change any extant legislation, without resorting to any role for the British Parliament that may have enacted the original legislation in the past. It also removed Westminster's authority to legislate for the Dominions, except with the express request and consent of the relevant Dominion's parliament. This change made the dominions, including the Free State, ''de jure'' sovereign nations – fulfilling Collins' vision of having "the freedom to achieve freedom". The Free State symbolically marked these changes in two mould-breaking moves soon after winning internationally recognised independence: * It sought, and got, the king's acceptance to have an Irish minister, to the complete exclusion of British ministers, formally advise the king in the exercise of his powers and functions as king in the Irish Free State. This gave the President of the Executive Council the right to directly advise the king in his capacity as His Majesty's Irish Prime Minister. Two examples of this are the signing of a treaty between the Irish Free State and the
Portuguese Republic Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a whose mainland is located on the , in , and whose territory also includes the Atlantic s of the and . It features in and its Iberian portion is ...

Portuguese Republic
in 1931, and the act recognising the
abdication Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and ...
of
King Edward VIII Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies ...
in 1936 separately from the recognition by the British Parliament. * The unprecedented replacement of the use of the
Great Seal of the Realm The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom (known prior to the Treaty of Union of 1707 as the Great Seal of England; and from then until the Union of 1801 as the Great Seal of Great Britain) is a seal Seal may refer to ...
and its replacement by the Great Seal of Saorstát Éireann, which the king awarded to the Irish Free State in 1931. (The Irish Seal consisted of a picture of King George V enthroned on one side, with the Irish state harp and the words ''Saorstát Éireann'' on the reverse. It is now on display in the Irish National Museum,
Collins Barracks Collins Barracks ( ga, Dún Uí Choileáin) is a former military barracks Barracks are usually a group of long buildings built to house military personnel or laborers. The English word comes via French from an old Spanish word "barraca" (hut), ...
in Dublin.) When Éamon de Valera became President of the Executive Council (prime minister) in 1932 he described Cosgrave's ministers' achievements simply. Having read the files, he told his son, Vivion, "they were magnificent, son". The Statute of Westminster allowed de Valera, on becoming President of the Executive Council (February 1932), to go even further. With no ensuing restrictions on his policies, he abolished the Oath of Allegiance (which Cosgrave intended to do had he won the 1932 general election), the Senate, university representation in the Dáil, and appeals to the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), somet ...
. One major policy error occurred in 1936 when he attempted to use the abdication of King Edward VIII to abolish the crown and governor-general in the Free State with the " Constitution (Amendment No. 27) Act". He was advised by senior law officers and other constitutional experts that, as the crown and governor-generalship existed separately from the constitution in a vast number of acts, charters, orders-in-council, and letters patent, they both still existed. A second bill, the " Executive Powers (Consequential Provisions) Act, 1937" was quickly introduced to repeal the necessary elements. De Valera retroactively dated the second act back to December 1936.


Currency

The new state continued to use the
Pound sterling The pound sterling (symbol: £; ISO code: GBP), known in some contexts simply as the pound or sterling, is the official currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the ...
from its inception; there is no reference in the Treaty or in either of the enabling Acts to currency. Nonetheless and within a few years, the Dáil passed the Coinage Act, 1926 (which provided for a ''Saorstát'' ree Statecoinage) and the Currency Act, 1927 (which provided ''inter alia'' for banknotes of the Saorstát pound). The new Saorstát pound was defined by the 1927 Act to have exactly the same weight and fineness of gold as was the sovereign (British coin), sovereign at the time, making the new currency Fixed exchange-rate system, pegged at 1:1 with sterling. The State circulated its new national coinage in 1928, marked ''Saorstát Éireann'' and a Series A Banknotes, national series of banknotes. British coinage remained acceptable in the Free State at an equal rate. In 1937, when the Free State was superseded by Ireland (''Éire''), the pound became known as the "Irish pound" and the coins were marked ''Éire''.


Demographics

According to one report, in 1924, shortly after the Free State's establishment, the new dominion had the "lowest birth-rate in the world". The report noted that amongst countries for which statistics were available (Ceylon, Chile, Japan, Spain, South Africa, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Australia, United States, Britain, New Zealand, Finland and the Irish Free State), Ceylon had the highest birth rate at 40.8 per 1,000 while the Irish Free State had a birth rate of just 18.6 per 1,000.


After the Irish Free State

In 1937 the Fianna Fáil government presented a draft of an entirely new Constitution to Dáil Éireann. An amended version of the draft document was subsequently approved by the Dáil. A
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
was held on 1 July 1937, which was the same day as the 1937 Irish general election, 1937 general election, when a relatively narrow majority approved it. The new Constitution of Ireland (''Bunreacht na hÉireann'') repealed the 1922 Constitution, and came into effect on 29 December 1937. The state was named Ireland (Éire in the Irish language), and a new office of President of Ireland was instituted in place of the Governor-General of the Irish Free State. The new constitution claimed jurisdiction over all of Ireland while recognising that legislation would not apply in Northern Ireland (see Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland, Articles 2 and 3). Articles 2 and 3 were Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, reworded in 1998 to remove jurisdictional claim over the entire island and to recognise that "a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island". With regard to religion, a section of Article 44 included the following: Following a referendum, this section was Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, deleted in 1973. It was left to the initiative of de Valera's successors in government to achieve the country's formal transformation into a republic with the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, which removed all remnant executive authority of the British monarch in Ireland. A small but significant minority of Irish people, usually attached to parties like Sinn Féin and the smaller Republican Sinn Féin, denied the right of the twenty-six county state to use the name ''Ireland'' and continued to refer to the state as "the Free State". With Sinn Féin's entry into Dáil Éireann and the Northern Ireland Executive at the close of the 20th century, the number of those who refuse to accept the legitimacy of the state, which was already in a minority, declined further. After the setting up of the Free State in 1923, unionism in the south largely came to an end.


See also

* Irish states since 1171 * Series A Banknotes – first issued by the Irish Free State in 1928


References


Further reading

* * * * * {{coord, 53, 20, 52, N, 6, 15, 35, W, source:kolossus-kowiki, display=title Irish Free State, Former countries in Ireland Former Commonwealth realms, Irish Free State Former monarchies of Europe, Ireland (1922-1937) Former polities of the interwar period 1920s in Ireland, 1930s in Ireland, History of Ireland by period History of the Republic of Ireland States and territories established in 1922 States and territories disestablished in 1937 1922 establishments in Ireland 1937 disestablishments in Ireland Modern history of the United Kingdom Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations Island countries