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The Parliament of Ireland ( ga, Parlaimint na hÉireann) was 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 city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
of the
Lordship of Ireland The Lordship of Ireland ( ga, Tiarnas na hÉireann), sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title= ...

Lordship of Ireland
, and later the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the po ...

Kingdom of Ireland
, from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
and from 1537 comprised two chambers: 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 unincorporat ...
and 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 ...
. The Lords were members of the
Irish peerage Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Brit ...
(’
lords temporal The Lords Temporal are secular members of the House of Lords The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons of the United K ...
’) and bishops (’
lords spiritual The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...
’; after the Reformation,
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; 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, Ul ...
bishops). The Commons was directly elected, albeit on a very restricted franchise. Parliaments met at various places in
Leinster Leinster ( ; ga, Laighin or ) is one of the provinces of Ireland A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which ...

Leinster
and
Munster Munster ( gle, an Mhumhain or ) is one of the provinces of Ireland Since pre-historic times, there have been four Provinces of Ireland: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The Irish language, Irish word for this territorial division ...

Munster
, but latterly always in Dublin: in
Christ Church CathedralChrist Church Cathedral is the name of many cathedrals around the world, and may refer to: Australia * Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton, an Anglican cathedral in the Clarence Valley Council, New South Wales * Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, an ...

Christ Church Cathedral
(15th century),Richardson 1943 p.451
Dublin Castle Dublin Castle ( ga, Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath) is a major Government of Ireland, Irish government complex, conference centre, and tourist attraction, of significant historical importance. It is located off Dame Street in central Dublin. Un ...

Dublin Castle
(to 1649),
Chichester House Chichester House or Carew's House was a building in College Green (formerly Hoggen Green), Dublin Dublin (, ; ) is the capital and largest city of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the Rive ...
(1661–1727), the Blue Coat School (1729–31), and finally a purpose-built Parliament House on College Green. The main purpose of parliament was to approve taxes that were then levied by and for the
Dublin Castle administration The Upper Courtyard of Dublin Castle. The Viceregal apartments are on the left. Dublin Castle Dublin Castle ( ga, Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath) is a major Government of Ireland, Irish government complex, conference centre, and tourist attrac ...
. Those who would pay the bulk of taxation, the clergy, merchants and landowners, also comprised the members. Only the " English of Ireland" were represented until the first
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...
lords were summoned during the 16th-century Tudor reconquest. Under Poynings' Law of 1495, all
Acts of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislat ...
had to be pre-approved by the
Irish Privy CouncilHis or Her Majesty's Privy Council in Ireland, commonly called the Privy Council of Ireland, Irish Privy Council, or in earlier centuries the Irish Council, was the institution within the Dublin Castle administrationImage:Dublin Castle Four Court.jpg ...
and
English Privy Council The Privy Council of England, also known as His (or Her) Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (), was a body of advisers to the List of English monarchs, sovereign of the Kingdom of England. Its members were often senior members of the House of ...
. Parliament supported the
Irish Reformation The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlan ...
and Catholics were excluded from membership and voting in penal times. The
Constitution of 1782 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 ...
amended Poynings' Law to allow the Irish Parliament to initiate legislation. In 1793 Catholics were re-enfranchised. The
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union 17 ...
merged the Kingdom of Ireland and
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
into the
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 parliament was merged with that of Great Britain; the united Parliament was in effect the British parliament at
Westminster Westminster is a district in Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city sta ...

Westminster
enlarged with a subset of the Irish Lords and Commons.


History


Middle Ages

After the 12th-century
Norman invasion of Ireland The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century, when Anglo-Normans gradually conquered and acquired large swathes of land from the Irish, which the Kingdom of England then claimed sovereignty over. At the time, Gael ...
, administration of the Anglo-Norman
Lordship of Ireland The Lordship of Ireland ( ga, Tiarnas na hÉireann), sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title= ...

Lordship of Ireland
was modelled on that of the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or ...

Kingdom of England
.
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
was extended in
1217 Year 1217 ( MCCXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday A common year starting on Sunday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additional ...
in the Charter of Ireland. As in England, parliament evolved out of the
Magnum Concilium In the Kingdom of England, the Magnum Concilium, or Great Council, is an Deliberative assembly, assembly that was historically convened at certain times of the year when church leaders and wealthy landowners were invited to discuss the affairs of th ...
"great council" summoned by the king's viceroy, attended by the council (
curia regis ''Curia regis'' () is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or " ...
), magnates (
feudal lord Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disc ...
s), and prelates (bishops and
abbot Abbot (from Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long ...

abbot
s). Membership was based on
fealty An oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (B ...
to the king, and the preservation of the king's peace, and so the fluctuating number of autonomous Irish
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...

Gaelic
kings were outside of the system; they had their own local
brehon law Early Irish law, historically referred to as (English: Freeman-ism) or (English: Law of Freemen), also called Brehon law, comprised the statutes which governed everyday life in Early Medieval Ireland. They were partially eclipsed by the Norma ...
taxation arrangements. The earliest known parliament met at
Kilkea Castle Kilkea Castle is located northwest of Castledermot, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland, Ireland near the village of Kilkea on the R418 road, R418 Regional road (Ireland), regional road from Athy to Tullow. It was a medieval stronghold of the Fit ...
near
Castledermot Castledermot (, meaning "Dermot's Hermitage") is an inland village in the south-east of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Grea ...
,
County Kildare County Kildare ( ga, Contae Chill Dara) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...
on 18 June 1264, with only prelates and magnates attending. Elected representatives are first attested in 1297 and continually from the later 14th century. In 1297, counties were first represented by elected
knights of the shire A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthoo ...
(
sheriff A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated ...

sheriff
s had previously represented them). In 1299, towns were represented. From the 14th century a distinction from the English parliament was that deliberations on church funding were held in Parliament rather than in
Convocation A convocation (from the Latin ''wikt:convocare, convocare'' meaning "to call/come together", a translation of the Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:ἐκκλησία, ἐκκλησία ''ekklēsia'') is a group of people formally assembled for a specia ...
. The separation of the individually summoned lords from the elected commons had developed by the fifteenth century. The clerical proctors elected by the lower clergy of each diocese formed a separate house or
estate Estate or The Estate may refer to: Law * Estate (law), a term in common law for a person's property, entitlements and obligations * Estates of the realm, a broad social category in the histories of certain countries. ** The Estates, representative ...
in until 1537, when they were expelled for their opposition to the
Irish Reformation The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlan ...
. The 14th and 15th centuries saw shrinking numbers of those loyal to the crown, the growing power of landed families, and the increasing inability to carry out judicial rulings, that all reduced the crown's presence in Ireland. Alongside this reduced control grew a "Gaelic resurgence" that was political as well as cultural. In turn this resulted in considerable numbers of the Hiberno-Norman
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
nobility joining the independent Gaelic nobles in asserting their feudal independence. Eventually the crown's power shrank to a small fortified enclave around Dublin known as
the Pale The Pale (''An Pháil'' in Irish language, Irish) or the English Pale (' or ') was the part of Ireland directly under the control of the English government in the Late Middle Ages. It had been reduced by the late 15th century to an area along ...
. The Parliament thereafter became essentially the forum for the Pale community until the 16th century. Unable to implement and exercise the authority of the Parliament or the Crown's rule outside of this environ, and increasingly under the attack of raids by the Gaelic Irish and independent Hiberno-Norman nobles, the Palesmen themselves encouraged the Kings of England to take a more direct role in the affairs of Ireland. Geographic distance, the lack of attention by the Crown because of the
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years’ War (french: link=yes, La guerre de Cent Ans; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of and during the . It originated from disputed claims to the between the English and the French roy ...
and the
Wars of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil wars for control of the throne of England, fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, represented by a ...
, and the larger power of the Gaelic clans, all reduced the effectiveness of the Irish Parliament. Thus, increasingly worried that the Irish Parliament was essentially being overawed by powerful landed families in Ireland like the
Earl of Kildare Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Old Norse, Scandinavian form ''jarl'', and meant "Germanic chieftain, chief ...
into passing laws that pursued the agendas of the different dynastic factions in the country, in 1494, the Parliament encouraged the passing of Poynings' Law which subordinated Irish Parliament to the English one.


Kingdom of Ireland

The role of the Parliament changed after 1541, when
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
declared the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the po ...

Kingdom of Ireland
and embarked on the
Tudor conquest of Ireland The Tudor conquest (or reconquest) of Ireland took place under the Tudor dynasty The House of Tudor was an English royal house of Welsh origin, descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England The ...
. Despite an era which featured royal concentration of power and decreasing feudal power throughout the rest of Europe, King Henry VIII over-ruled earlier court rulings putting families and lands under
attainder In English criminal law, attainder or attinctura was the metaphorical "stain" or "corruption of blood" which arose from being condemned for a serious capital crime (felony or treason). It entailed losing not only one's life, property and hereditary ...
and recognised the privileges of the Gaelic nobles, thereby expanding the crown's ''de jure'' authority. In return for recognising the crown's authority under the new Kingdom of Ireland, the Gaelic-Anglo-Irish lords had their position legalised and were entitled to attend the Irish Parliament as equals under the policy of
surrender and regrant During the Tudor conquest of Ireland The Tudor conquest (or reconquest) of Ireland took place under the Tudor dynasty, which held the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain fr ...
. The
Reformation in Ireland The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...
introduced in stages by the Tudor monarchs did not take hold in most of the country, and did not affect the operation of parliament until after the
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
''
Regnans in Excelsis ''Regnans in Excelsis'' ("Reigning on High") is a papal bull that Pope Pius V Pope Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislieri (from 1518 called Michele Ghislieri, O.P.), was head of the Catholic Church The Cat ...
'' of 1570. Initially in 1537, the Irish Parliament approved both the
Act of Supremacy The Acts of Supremacy are two acts passed by the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the c ...
, acknowledging Henry VIII as head of the Church and the dissolution of the monasteries. In the parliaments of 1569 and 1585, the Old English Catholic representatives in the Irish Commons had several disputes with the crown's authorities over the introduction of penal legislation against Catholics and over-paying of "
Cess Cess is a tax. It is usually known as tax on tax. Cess is generally levied for promoting services like health, education, etc. Government often charges cess for the purpose of development in social sectors. Cess is levied on high income group pe ...
" tax for the putting down of various Gaelic and Catholic rebellions. For this reason, and the political fallout after the 1605 Gunpowder plot and the
Plantation of Ulster The Plantation of Ulster ( gle, Plandáil Uladh; 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-Scots: ''Ul ...

Plantation of Ulster
in 1613–15, the constituencies for the Irish House of Commons were changed to give Protestants a majority. The Plantation of Ulster allowed English and Scottish Protestant candidates in as representatives of the newly formed
borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for ...
s in planted areas. Initially this gave Protestants a majority of 132–100 in the House of Commons. However, after vehement Catholic protests, including a brawl in the chamber on Parliament's first sitting, some of the new Parliamentary constituencies were eliminated, giving Protestants a slight majority (108-102) of members of the House of Commons thereafter. In the House of Lords the Catholic majority continued until the 1689 "
Patriot Parliament Patriot Parliament is the name commonly used for the Irish Parliament called by James II during the 1689 to 1691 war in Ireland. The first since 1666, it held only one session, from 7 May 1689 to 20 July 1689. The Commons was 70 members short ...
", with the exception of the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...
period (1649–60). Following the general uprising of the Catholic Irish in the
Irish Rebellion of 1641 The Irish Rebellion of 1641 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1641) was an uprising by Irish Catholics in the Kingdom of Ireland, who wanted an end to anti-Catholic discrimination, greater Irish self-governance, and to partially or fully reverse the plantation ...
and the self-established Catholic assembly in 1642–49, Roman Catholics were barred from voting or attending the Parliament altogether in the Cromwellian
Act of Settlement 1652 The Act for the Setling of Ireland imposed penalties including death and land confiscation against participants and bystanders of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 The Irish Rebellion of 1641 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1641) was an uprising by Irish Cath ...
, which was reversed by the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
of in 1660.


1660 to 1800

Following the death of Cromwell and the end of the
Protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
, the Stuarts returned to the throne thereby ending the sectarian divisions relating to parliament. Then, during the reign of
James II of England James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701) was King of England and King of Ireland as James II, and King of Scotland as James VII from the death of his elder brother, Charles II of England, Charles II ...

James II of England
, who had converted to Roman Catholicism, Irish Catholics briefly recovered their pre-eminent position as the crown now favoured their community. When James was overthrown in England, he turned to his Catholic supporters in the Irish Parliament for support. In return for its support during the
Williamite war in Ireland The Williamite War in Ireland (1688–1691; ga, Cogadh an Dá Rí, "war of the two kings"), was a conflict between Jacobite supporters of deposed monarch James II James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 Sept ...
(1688–91), a Catholic majority ''
Patriot Parliament Patriot Parliament is the name commonly used for the Irish Parliament called by James II during the 1689 to 1691 war in Ireland. The first since 1666, it held only one session, from 7 May 1689 to 20 July 1689. The Commons was 70 members short ...
'' of 1689 persuaded James to pass legislation granting it autonomy to and to restore lands confiscated from Catholics in the
Cromwellian conquest of Ireland The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland or Cromwellian war in Ireland (1649–1653) was the conquest of Ireland by the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English g ...
. The Jacobite defeat in this war meant that under
William III of England William III (William Henry; ; 4 November 16508 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was the sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of County of Holland, Holland, County of Zeeland, Zeeland, Lordship of Utrecht, Utrecht, ...

William III of England
Protestants were returned to a favoured position in Irish society while substantial numbers of Catholic nobles and leaders could no longer sit in parliament unless they took a loyalty oath as agreed under the
Treaty of Limerick The Treaty of Limerick ( ga, Conradh Luimnigh), signed on 3 October 1691, ended the 1689 to 1691 Williamite War in Ireland The Williamite War in Ireland (1688–1691) ( ga, Cogadh an Dá Rí, "war of the two kings"), was a conflict between Ja ...
. Having proven their support for Catholic absolutism by their loyal support for James during the war, and because the Papacy supported the Jacobites after 1693, Irish Catholics increasingly faced discriminatory legislation in the
Penal Laws In the history of Ireland The first evidence of human presence in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to ...
that were passed by the predominantly loyalist and Protestant Parliament from 1695. Nonetheless, the franchise was still available to wealthier Catholics. Until 1728, Catholics voted in House of Commons elections and held seats in the Lords. For no particular reason, beyond a general pressure for Catholics to conform, they were barred from voting in the election for the first parliament in the reign of
George IIGeorge II or 2 may refer to: People * George II of Antioch (seventh century AD) * George II of Armenia (late ninth century) * George II of Abkhazia (916–960) * Patriarch George II of Alexandria (1021–1051) * George II of Georgia (1072–1089) * ...
. Privileges were also mostly limited to supporters of the
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; 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, Ul ...
. Protestants who did not recognise the state-supported Church were also discriminated against in law, so non-conformists such as Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Quakers also had a subservient status in Parliament; after 1707 they could hold seats, but not public offices. Thus, the new system favoured a new Anglican establishment in Church and State. By 1728, the remaining nobility was either firmly Protestant or loyally Catholic. The upper classes had dropped most of its Gaelic traditions and adopted the Anglo-French aristocratic values then dominant throughout most of Europe. Much of the old feudal domains of the earlier Hiberno-Norman and Gaelic-Irish magnates had been broken up and given to Irish loyalists soldiers, and English and Scottish Protestant colonial settlers. Long under the control of ''de jure'' power of magnates, the far larger peasant population had nonetheless under the relatively anarchic and sectarian conditions established a relative independence. Now, the nobility and newly established loyalist gentry could exercise their rights and privileges with more vigour. Much as in England, Wales, and Scotland, the franchise was always limited to the property owning classes, which favoured the
landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temp ...
. The Irish Parliament was thus at a time of English commercial expansion left incapable of protecting Irish economic and trade interests from being subordinated to English ones. This in turn severely weakened the economic potential of the whole of Ireland and placed the new and largely Protestant middle-class at a disadvantage. The result was a slow but continual exodus of Anglo-Irish, Scots-Irish, and Protestant Irish families and communities to the colonies, principally in North America. Ironically, it was the very efforts to establish Anglicans as the primacy in Ireland which slowly subverted the general cause of the Protestant Irish which had been the objective of successive Irish and British Parliaments. The Irish Parliament did assert its independence from London several times however. In the early 18th century it successfully lobbied for itself to be summoned every two years, as opposed to at the start of each new reign only, and shortly thereafter it declared itself to be in session permanently, mirroring developments in the
English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of b ...
. As the effects on the prosperity of the Kingdom of submitting the Irish Parliament to review by the British became apparent, the Irish Parliament slowly asserted itself, and from the 1770s the
Irish Patriot Party The Irish Patriot Party was the name of a number of different political groupings in Ireland throughout the 18th century. They were primarily supportive of British Whig Party, Whig concepts of personal liberty combined with an Irish identity that r ...
began agitating for greater powers relative to the British Parliament. Additionally, later ministries moved to change the
Navigation Acts The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, was a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The la ...
that had limited Irish merchants' terms of trade with Britain and its empire.


Powers

After 1707,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
was, to varying degrees, subordinate to the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
. The Parliament of Ireland had control over only legislation, while the executive branch of government, under the
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 ...
, answered to the British government in London. Furthermore, the
Penal Laws In the history of Ireland The first evidence of human presence in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to ...
meant that
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholics
, who constituted the majority of Irish people, were not permitted to sit in, or participate in elections to, the parliament. Meanwhile, building upon the precedent of Poynings' Law which required approval from the British Privy Council for bills to be put to the Irish Parliament, the Dependency of Ireland on Great Britain Act 1719 declared the British Parliament's right to legislate for Ireland and the British House of Lords appellate jurisdiction over its courts. The effects of this subordination of Irish Parliamentary power soon became evident, as Ireland slowly stagnated economically and the Protestant population shrank in relative size. Additionally, the growing relative wealth of the
American colonies#REDIRECT American colonies
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, whose local authorities were relatively independent of the British Parliament, provided additional ammunition for those who wished to increase Irish Parliamentary power. When the British governments started centralising trade, taxation and judicial review throughout the Empire, the Irish Parliament saw an ally in the American colonies, who were growing increasingly resistant to the British government's objectives. When open rebellion broke out in the American colonies in 1775, the Irish Parliament passed several initiatives which showed support for the American grievances. Fearing another split by Ireland, as rebellion spread through the American colonies and various European powers joined in a global assault on British interests, the British Parliament became more acquiescent to Irish demands. In 1782, following agitation by major parliamentary figures, most notably
Henry Grattan Henry Grattan (3 July 1746 – 4 June 1820) was an Irish politician and lawyer who campaigned for legislative freedom for the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century from Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom, a sovereign state ...

Henry Grattan
, supported by the
Patriot movement In the United States, the patriot movement is a term which is used to describe a cohort of non-unified conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The cen ...
, the Irish parliament's authority was greatly increased. Under what became known as the
Constitution of 1782 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 ...
the restrictions imposed by Poyning's Law were removed by the
Repeal of Act for Securing Dependence of Ireland Act 1782 The Repeal Act of 1782 (22. Geo. III, c. 53) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain a ...
. Grattan also wanted Catholic involvement in Irish politics; in 1793 the parliament copied the British
Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791 The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791 is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1791 (31 George III. c. 32) relieving Roman Catholics of certain political, educational, and economic disabilities. It admitted Catholics to the practice o ...
, and Catholics were given back the right to cast votes in elections to the parliament, although they were still debarred from membership and state offices.


Organisation

The House of Lords was presided over by the
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the Great Officers of State In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inheri ...
, who sat on the
woolsack The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker The Lord Speaker is the speaker (politics), presiding officer, chairman and highest authority of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The office is analogous to the Speaker of th ...

woolsack
, a large seat stuffed with wool from each of the three lands of England, Ireland and Scotland. In the Commons, business was presided over by the
Speaker Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech, sometimes also called a speaker-hearer Electronics * Loudspeaker, a ...
who, in the absence of a government chosen from and answerable to the Commons, was the dominant political figure in the parliament. Speaker Conolly remains today one of the most widely known figures produced by the Irish parliament. Much of the public ceremonial in the Irish parliament mirrored that of the British Parliament. Sessions were formally opened by the
Speech from the Throne Speech is human vocal communication using language. Each language uses Phonetics, phonetic combinations of vowel and consonant sounds that form the sound of its words (that is, all English words sound different from all French words, even if the ...
by the Lord Lieutenant, who, it was written "used to sit surrounded by more splendour than His Majesty on the throne of England". The Lord Lieutenant, when he sat on the throne, sat beneath a canopy of crimson velvet. At the state opening, MPs were summoned to the House of Lords from the House of Commons chamber by
Black Rod Black Rod (officially known as the Lady Usher of the Black Rod or, if male, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod) is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political communit ...
, a royal official who would "command the members on behalf of His Excellency to attend him in the chamber of peers". Sessions of Parliament drew many of the wealthiest of Ireland's Anglo-Irish elite to Dublin, particularly as sessions often coincided with the
social season The social season, or season, refers to the traditional annual period when it is customary for members of a social elite of society to hold ball (dance), balls, Party#Dinner party, dinner parties and Charitable organization, charity events. Until Wo ...
, (January to 17 March) when the Lord Lieutenant presided in state over state balls and drawing rooms in the Viceregal Apartments in Dublin Castle. Leading peers in particular flocked to Dublin, where they lived in enormous and richly decorated mansions initially on the northside of Dublin, later in new Georgian residences around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square. Their presence in Dublin, along with large numbers of servants, provided a regular boost to the city economy. The Parliament's records were published from the 1750s and provide a huge wealth of commentary and statistics on the reality of running Ireland at the time. In particular, minute details on Ireland's increasing overseas trade and reports from various specialist committees are recorded. By the 1780s they were published by two rival businesses, King & Bradley and Grierson.


The Act of Union and abolition

From 31 December 1800, the Parliament of Ireland was abolished entirely, when the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union 17 ...
created the
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
and merged the British and Irish legislatures into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom after 1 January 1801. The idea of a political union between Ireland and Great Britain had been proposed several times throughout the 18th century, but was vehemently opposed in Ireland. The granting of legislative independence to Ireland in 1782 was thought to have ended hopes of a union. Relations between the two parliaments became strained in 1789 during the illness of King George III, when the Irish parliament invited the Prince of Wales to become the Regent of Ireland, before Westminster had been able to make its own decision on the matter. The Irish Rebellion of 1798 saw a French expedition landing in Killala, causing alarm that Ireland could be used as a base for attacks on Britain, resurrecting the idea of political union between Ireland and Great Britain. The British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger had the strong support of King George III for a union, with the king advising him on 13 July 1798 that the rebellion should be used "for frightening the supporters of the Castle into a Union". The Protestant Ascendancy was also seen as being unequal in the task of governing Ireland, and that such a "corrupt, dangerous and inefficient system" had to be done away with. In June 1798, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, Lord Cornwallis was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with one of his main tasks to be securing support in Ireland for a union. Cornwallis would report that "The mass of the people of Ireland do not care one farthing about the Union". For the idea to succeed, Pitt knew that he needed large scale public support in Ireland for the idea from both Protestants and Catholics, and as such Catholic Emancipation would need to be delivered along with the union. Catholic Emancipation alone he knew would be enough to secure the stability of Ireland. The Catholic middle classes and the Catholic hierarchy, led by John Thomas Troy, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop of Dublin, were willing to support the union if Catholic Emancipation did indeed follow. Only a group of Catholic barristers, most notably Daniel O'Connell, opposed the idea of union. For Protestants, the Presbyterians, who were largely involved in the rebellion of 1798 would shed no tears over the end of the Irish parliament. The Orange Order tried to be neutral on the issue of union, however thirty-six lodges from counties Armagh and Louth alone petitioned against the Union. The fear for some Protestants, especially those part of the Protestant Ascendancy, was that Catholic emancipation would immediately follow any union. The artisans and merchants of Dublin also feared any union as it might have resulted in a loss of business. When William Pitt's idea of union and emancipation was revealed to the cabinet of the Irish parliament, the Speaker and Chancellor of the Exchequer both vehemently opposed it. The rest of the cabinet supported the idea however were split on the issue of Catholic Emancipation, resulting in it being dropped from the proposals. Cornwallis observed: "I certainly wish that England could now make a union with the Irish nation, instead of making it with a party in Ireland". Any union between Ireland and Great Britain would have to be in the form of a treaty in all but name, meaning that any act of union would need to be passed separately in both the Dublin and Westminster parliaments. There was strong support for it in Westminster, however Dublin was not as keen. An amendment was moved on 22 January 1799, seeking the House to maintain "the undoubted birthright of the people of Ireland to have a free and independent legislature". The debate which followed consisted of eighty speeches, made over the course of twenty-one uninterrupted hours. The next day a vote was held which resulted in a defeat of the amendment by one vote (106 to 105), however the following day another motion against any union passed 111 to 106. Following these votes, Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, Lord Castlereagh and Lord Cornwallis set about trying to win over as many Irish MPs as possible through bribery consisting of jobs, pensions, peerages, promotions, along with other enticements. These methods were all legal and not unusual for the time. They also spent over £1,250,000 buying the support of those who held the seats of boroughs and counties. When parliament reopened on 15 January 1800, high levels of passion ran throughout, and angry speeches were delivered by proponents on both sides. Henry Grattan, who had helped secure the Irish parliament's legislative independence in 1782, bought Wicklow borough at midnight for £1,200, and after dressing in his old Irish Volunteers (18th century), Volunteer uniform, arrived at the House of Commons of the Irish parliament at 7 a.m., after which he gave a two-hour speech against the union. Regardless, a motion against the union failed by 138 votes to 96, and resolutions in favour of the union were passed with large majorities in both chambers of parliament. The terms of the union were agreed on 28 March 1800 by both houses of the Irish Parliament. Two Acts with identical aims (but with different wording) were passed in both the British and Irish parliaments, with the British Act of Union becoming law on 2 July 1800, and royal assent given to the Irish Act of Union on 1 August 1800. The Irish Parliament met for the last time the following day. On 1 January 1801, the provisions of the Acts of Union 1800, Acts of Union came into force.


See also

* Historical Irish legislatures * List of Acts of the Parliament of Ireland to 1700 (1216–1698) * List of Acts of the Parliament of Ireland, 1701–1800 * List of Parliaments of Ireland * :Members of the Parliament of Ireland (pre-1801), Members of the pre-1801 Parliament of Ireland * Parliament of Great Britain * Oireachtas, Parliament of the Republic of Ireland * Parliament of the United Kingdom


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * *


External links


History of the Irish Parliament 1682–1800
Ancestry Ireland
Irish Legislation Database 1692–1800
Queen's University, Belfast {{DEFAULTSORT:Parliament of Ireland Parliament of Ireland, 1801 disestablishments 13th-century establishments in Ireland Defunct bicameral legislatures, Ireland Westminster system parliaments, Ireland