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NI 100: What was in the Government of Ireland Act?

NI 100: What was in the Government

Precisely 100 years back today – 23 December 1920 – the Government of Ireland Act became law.

It parceled Ireland into two separate locales – Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. The last would turn into the Irish Free State and in the long run the cutting edge Republic of Ireland.

  • Northern Ireland would turn into the initial segment of the UK to have what we currently call devolution.
  • However, what else did the Act contain?
  • Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland

While trying to accommodate the requests of unionists – most of whom lived in the north east of Ireland – to remain part of the UK and patriots, the majority of whom by 1920 needed full freedom, the demonstration split Ireland in two.

King George V visits Belfast to open the new NI Parliament

Both Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland would remain a piece of the UK however would have their own regressed parliaments.

  • Every parliament would have a Senate and a House of Commons, yet MPs would likewise keep on being chosen for Westminster also.
  • Ruler George V visits Belfast to open the new NI Parliament

A Council of Ireland was additionally to be set up “with a view to the inevitable foundation of a Parliament for the entire of Ireland and to achieve amicable activity between the parliaments and legislatures of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland”.

It would be comprised of the master lieutenant (the King’s agent in Ireland) and 40 different individuals partitioned similarly between individuals from the two parliaments.

The Act said that if the two parliaments casted a ballot for setting up a solitary Irish Parliament, at that point the Council of Ireland would be broken up.

Trinity College Dublin

Decayed forces

The two parliaments were to be vested with broad forces “for the harmony, request and great administration of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland”.

Nonetheless, likewise with devolution today, there were some huge forces which stayed with Westminster.

These included laws identified with the Crown or progression of the Crown, the ability to pronounce war, controls over the military, the ability to make settlements or set up relations with unfamiliar states and laws in regards to treachery and exchange outside of every parliament’s purview.

Other more curious exclusions included controls over beacons, floats or signals and the capacity to make laws about submarine links or remote telecommunication.

They were likewise precluded from making laws which either settled or supplied a religion or limited or restricted a religion or practice of religion.

Chief authority was to stay with the King through the ruler lieutenant, yet the Act enacted for every parliament to set up government offices headed by clergymen, who might be individuals from a privy gathering.

Practically speaking – as would turn into the case in Northern Ireland – chief power rested with these priests, including a leader.

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Parliament House in Dublin


  • Likewise to the foundation of two parliaments, two court frameworks were to be set up – one for Southern Ireland and one for Northern Ireland.
  • Each would comprise of a High Court and a Court of Appeal.
  • There would likewise be a High Court of Appeal for Ireland which would have investigative ward over the entire island.
  • Colleges… furthermore, freemasons

Among what we should seriously mull over more surprising parts of the Act from a current point of view are arrangements about colleges and freemasons.

The Act expressed that “no law…shall have impact as to change the constitution or redirect the property of, or annul or reduce any current exclusion or resistance appreciated by the University of Dublin, or Trinity College Dublin or the Queen’s University of Belfast” besides with endorsement by the colleges.

It likewise required the Parliament of Southern Ireland to pay £30,000 every year to University College Dublin, £42,000 per year to University College Cork, £26,000 per year to University College Galway and £17,000 “for the overall amount of those schools separately”.

  • Trinity College Dublin

The Parliament of Northern Ireland was to pay £26,000 every year to Queen’s University Belfast.

The Act additionally expressed that current laws about unlawful promises or unlawful congregations didn’t have any significant bearing to the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland or of any cabin or society perceived by that Grand Lodge.

A spot to call home

Until the Act of Union in 1801, Ireland had its own parliament which had existed from bygone eras.

From 1732 until 1800 this parliament sat in Parliament House in College Green in Dublin, which was the primary reason constructed bicameral parliament working on the planet.

In 1803 the Bank of Ireland purchased the structure, yet it kept on going about as an image of patriotism.

The Act expressed that if the new Government of Southern Ireland wished to take Parliament House back from the bank it would be permitted to, if it could pay for another administrative center for the bank and remunerate it for the unsettling influence of moving.

At last neither the Parliament of Southern Ireland nor its replacements ever sat in Parliament House.

The Act additionally said the Parliament of Southern Ireland should be in Dublin and the Parliament of Northern Ireland should be in Belfast.

This messed up Northern Ireland when the new parliament at long last recognized a perpetual site at Stormont, which lay external the Belfast city limits.

  • The limits were later reached out to incorporate it.
  • What happened to the entirety of this?

Set forth plainly, the vast majority of what identified with Northern Ireland happened and the greater part of what identified with Southern Ireland didn’t – at any rate not how the Act proposed.

The Council of Ireland additionally never met.

The Parliament of Southern Ireland sat once, in June 1921, yet just four unionist MPs went to the Commons. It chose a speaker and afterward dismissed and Parliament was at last supplanted by the Oireachtas of the Irish Free State.

The Parliament of Northern Ireland initially met in June 1921 and administered Northern Ireland for very nearly 51 years until it was suspended in March 1972 and in the end nullified as common issue heightened in the early long stretches of The Troubles.

The court framework set up in Northern Ireland by the Act keeps on existing right up ’til today.