Irish Republic
Overview
 
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 in January 1919. It established a legislature (Dáil Éireann
First Dáil
The First Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 1919–1921. In 1919 candidates who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann"...

), a government (Aireacht
Aireacht
The Aireacht or Ministry was the cabinet of the 1919–1922 Irish Republic. The Ministry was originally established by the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil in 1919, after it issued the Irish Declaration of Independence...

), a court system
Dáil Courts
During the Irish War of Independence, the Dáil Courts were the judicial branch of government of the short-lived Irish Republic. They were formally established by a decree of the First Dáil Éireann on 29 June 1920, replacing more limited Arbitration Courts that had been authorised a year earlier...

 and a police force
Irish Republican Police
The Irish Republican Police was the police force of the 1919-1922 Irish Republic and was administered by the Department for Home Affairs of that government.-Foundation:...

. At the same time, the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

, who came under the control of the Dáil and became known as the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

, fought against British armed forces in the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

.

The War of Independence ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, signed on 6 December 1921 and narrowly approved by Dáil Éireann on 7 January 1922.
Encyclopedia
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 in January 1919. It established a legislature (Dáil Éireann
First Dáil
The First Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 1919–1921. In 1919 candidates who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann"...

), a government (Aireacht
Aireacht
The Aireacht or Ministry was the cabinet of the 1919–1922 Irish Republic. The Ministry was originally established by the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil in 1919, after it issued the Irish Declaration of Independence...

), a court system
Dáil Courts
During the Irish War of Independence, the Dáil Courts were the judicial branch of government of the short-lived Irish Republic. They were formally established by a decree of the First Dáil Éireann on 29 June 1920, replacing more limited Arbitration Courts that had been authorised a year earlier...

 and a police force
Irish Republican Police
The Irish Republican Police was the police force of the 1919-1922 Irish Republic and was administered by the Department for Home Affairs of that government.-Foundation:...

. At the same time, the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

, who came under the control of the Dáil and became known as the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

, fought against British armed forces in the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

.

The War of Independence ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, signed on 6 December 1921 and narrowly approved by Dáil Éireann on 7 January 1922. A Provisional Government
Provisional Government of Southern Ireland
The provisional Government of Southern Ireland was the provisional government for the administration of Southern Ireland between 16 January 1922 and 6 December 1922. The government was effectively a transitional administration for the period between the ratifying of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the...

 was set up under the terms of the treaty, but the Irish Republic nominally remained in existence until 6 December 1922, when Ireland became a self-governing British Dominion called the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. The six counties of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new dominion and rejoin the United Kingdom on 8 December 1922, leading to the Partition of Ireland
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

, so that the Irish Free State consisted of only 26 of the island's 32 counties.

Name

In English, the revolutionary state was to be known as the 'Irish Republic'. Two different Irish language titles were used: Poblacht na hÉireann and Saorstát Éireann, based on two alternative Irish translations of the word republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. The word 'poblacht' was a new word, coined by the writers of the Easter Proclamation in 1916. Saorstát was a compound word based on the Irish words saor ("free") and stát ("state"). Its literal translation was "free state". The term Poblacht na hÉireann is the one used in the Proclamation of 1916, but the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence (Ireland)
The Declaration of Independence was a document adopted by Dáil Éireann, the revolutionary parliament of the Irish Republic, at its first meeting in the Mansion House, Dublin, on 21 January 1919. It followed from the Sinn Féin election manifesto of December 1918...

 and other documents adopted in 1919 used Saorstát Éireann.

Saorstát Éireann was adopted as the official Irish title of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 when it was established at the end of the Anglo-Irish War (however this Free State was not a republic but a form of constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 within the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

). Since then, the word saorstát has fallen out of use as a translation of republic. After the Irish state had changed its name to "Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

", in 1949 the description of the state was declared Republic of Ireland, while in Irish it was translated as Poblacht na hÉireann.

In "The Aftermath", Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 gives an account of the first meeting of Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State and head of government and head of state of Ireland...

 with David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 on 14 July 1921, at which he was present. Lloyd George was a noted Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 linguist and as such was interested in the literal meaning of 'Saorstát'. De Valera replied that it meant 'Free State'. Lloyd George asked '...what is your Irish word for Republic?' After some delay and no reply, Lloyd George commented: 'Must we not admit that the Celts never were Republicans and have no native word for such an idea?'

However, Lord Longford (though not actually present) gives a different account in ‘’Peace by Ordeal’’: "The only doubt in de Valera's mind, as he explained to Lloyd George, arose from the current dispute among Gaelic purists whether the idea Republic was better conveyed by the broader ‘Saorstát’ or the more abstract ‘Poblacht’."

Establishment

In 1916 nationalist rebels participating in the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 issued the Proclamation of the Republic. By this declaration they claimed to establish an independent state called the "Irish Republic" and proclaimed that the leaders of the rebellion would serve as the "Provisional Government of the Irish Republic
Provisional Government of the Irish Republic
In the Easter Rising in Dublin on 24 April 1916, the Proclamation of the Irish Republic read by Patrick Pearse was headed and signed as being issued by the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic...

" until it became possible to elect a national parliament. The Easter Rising was short-lived, largely limited to Dublin and, at the time it occurred, enjoyed little support from the Irish general public.

The leaders of the Easter Rising had proclaimed a republic. Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith was the founder and third leader of Sinn Féin. He served as President of Dáil Éireann from January to August 1922, and was head of the Irish delegation at the negotiations in London that produced the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.-Early life:...

's Sinn Féin organisation, which had favoured the establishment of a form of dual monarchy between Ireland and Britain, had not taken part in the Rising. In 1917, Griffith's Sinn Féin and republicans under Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State and head of government and head of state of Ireland...

, came together to form the new Sinn Féin Party. A compromise was reached at the 1917 Ard Fheis
Ard Fheis
Ardfheis or Ard Fheis is the name used by many Irish political parties for their annual party conference. The term was first used by Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish language cultural organisation, for its annual convention....

 (party conference), where it was agreed that the party would pursue the establishment of an independent republic in the short-term, until the Irish people could be given the opportunity to decide on the form of government they preferred. This agreement was subject to the condition that if the people chose monarchy, no member of the British royal family would be invited to serve as monarch.

In the UK general election of 1918 candidates of the radical Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 party, including many who had participated in the 1916 rebellion, issued a Manifesto
Sinn Féin Manifesto 1918
Sinn Féin Manifesto for the December 1918 electionFollowing its reform in 1917, the Sinn Féin party campaigned against conscription in Ireland...

 which included: Sinn Féin aims at securing the establishment of that Republic. It also said it would boycott the British Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 and instead unilaterally establish a new Irish assembly in Dublin. Sinn Féin candidates won a large majority of seats, 73 out of 105, many uncontested. On 21 January 1919, 27 of them gathered in the Mansion House
Mansion House, Dublin
The Mansion House on Dawson Street, Dublin, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.-Features:The Mansion House's most famous features include the "Round Room", where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence...

 in Dublin to establish Dáil Éireann. Thirty-five other members were recorded as being fé ghlas ag Gallaibh (imprisoned by the foreign enemy) and another four as ar díbirt ag Gallaibh (deported by the foreign enemy). Thirty-seven other MPs were recorded as not being present (as láthair), these were mainly from the northern six counties that would later form Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. At this meeting the Dáil adopted the Irish Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence (Ireland)
The Declaration of Independence was a document adopted by Dáil Éireann, the revolutionary parliament of the Irish Republic, at its first meeting in the Mansion House, Dublin, on 21 January 1919. It followed from the Sinn Féin election manifesto of December 1918...

. Because of the Easter Proclamation of 1916, the Dáil retrospectively established the Irish Republic from Easter 1916.

On the same day as the Declaration of Independence was issued two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

 (RIC) escorting a cartload of gelignite
Gelignite
Gelignite, also known as blasting gelatin or simply jelly, is an explosive material consisting of collodion-cotton dissolved in either nitroglycerine or nitroglycol and mixed with wood pulp and saltpetre .It was invented in 1875 by Alfred Nobel, who had earlier invented dynamite...

 were killed at Soloheadbeg
Soloheadbeg
Soloheadbeg is a small townland, some two miles outside Tipperary Town, near Limerick Junction railway station.The place is steeped in Irish history, for it was here that King Mahon of Thomond and his brother Brian Ború defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Solohead in 968...

, in Tipperary
Tipperary
Tipperary is a town and a civil parish in South Tipperary in Ireland. Its population was 4,415 at the 2006 census. It is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and is in the historical barony of Clanwilliam....

, by Dan Breen
Dan Breen
Daniel "Dan" Breen was a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. In later years, he was a Fianna Fáil politician.-Background:...

 and Seán Treacy
Seán Treacy (Irish Republican)
Seán Treacy was one of the leaders of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. He helped to start the conflict in 1919 and was killed in a shootout with British troops in Talbot Street, Dublin during an aborted British Secret Service...

, members of the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

. This incident had not been ordered by the Dáil but the course of events soon drove the Dáil to recognise the Volunteers as the army of the Irish Republic, and so the Soloheadbeg incident became the opening incident of the undeclared Anglo-Irish War between the Volunteers and Great Britain. Breen later recalled: "Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone, so we intended to kill some of the police.."

The decision to establish a republic in 1919, rather than any other form of government, was significant because it amounted to a complete repudiation of all constitutional ties with Great Britain, and set the party against any compromise that might involve initial self-government under the Home Rule Act 1914
Home Rule Act 1914
The Government of Ireland Act 1914 , also known as the Third Home Rule Bill, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to provide self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.The Act was the first law ever passed by the Parliament of...

 or continued membership of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The volatile question of the Unionists of the north-east having long indicated that they would never participate in any form of a republic was left unresolved, the six north-eastern counties remaining part of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

, and later the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

.

Dáil Éireann

The central institution of the republic was Dáil Éireann, a unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 assembly formed by the majority of Irish Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 elected in the 1918 general election. Two further general elections called by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was the British King's representative and head of the Irish executive during the Lordship of Ireland , the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, the head of the British administration in Dublin Castle, were treated by nationalists as elections to the Dáil. The Second Dáil
Second Dáil
The Second Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 16 August 1921 until 8 June 1922. From 1919–1922 Dáil Éireann was the revolutionary parliament of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic. The Second Dáil consisted of members elected in 1921...

 comprised members returned in the 1921 elections
Irish elections, 1921
Two elections in Ireland took place in 1921, as a result of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to establish the House of Commons of Northern Ireland and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland. The election was used by Irish Republicans as the basis of membership of the Second Dáil...

 for the Parliaments of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 and Southern Ireland
Parliament of Southern Ireland
The Parliament of Southern Ireland was a home rule legislature set up by the British Government during the Irish War of Independence under the Fourth Home Rule Bill...

; the Third Dáil
Third Dáil
The Third Dáil, also known as the Provisional Parliament or the Constituent Assembly, was:*the "provisional parliament" or "constituent assembly" of Southern Ireland from 9 August 1922 until 6 December 1922; and...

 was elected in 1922 general election
Irish general election, 1922
The Irish general election of 1922 took place in Southern Ireland on 16 June 1922, under the provisions of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty to elect a constituent assembly paving the way for the formal establishment of the Irish Free State...

 as the "provisional parliament" of "Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland was a short-lived autonomous region of the United Kingdom established on 3 May 1921 and dissolved on 6 December 1922.Southern Ireland was established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 together with its sister region, Northern Ireland...

", as provided for by the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

At its first meeting the Dáil adopted a brief, provisional constitution known as the Dáil Constitution
Dáil Constitution
The Constitution of Dáil Éireann , more commonly known as the Dáil Constitution, was the constitution of the 1919–22 Irish Republic. It was adopted by the First Dáil at its first meeting on 21 January 1919 and theoretically remained in force for four years. As adopted it consisted of only five...

, as well as a series of basic laws, notably the Democratic Programme
Democratic Programme
The Democratic Programme was a declaration of economic and social principles adopted by the First Dáil at its first meeting on 21 January 1919. The primary purpose of the programme was to espouse certain values of socialism. A text of the programme was first adopted in Irish, and then in English...

. It also passed a Declaration of Independence.

Aireacht

The Dáil Constitution vested executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 authority in a cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 called the "Aireacht
Aireacht
The Aireacht or Ministry was the cabinet of the 1919–1922 Irish Republic. The Ministry was originally established by the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil in 1919, after it issued the Irish Declaration of Independence...

" or "Ministry". The Aireacht was answerable to the Dáil which elected its head, known initially as the President of Dáil Éireann
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

 (Príomh Aire). He in turn appointed the ministers. According to the original version of the constitution enacted in January 1919, there were to be four ministers:
  1. Minister of Finance
    Minister for Finance (Ireland)
    The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

     (Aire Airgid)
  2. Minister of Home Affairs (Aire Gnóthaí Duthchais)
  3. Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ireland)
    The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government of Ireland. Its headquarters are at Iveagh House, on St Stephen's Green in Dublin; "Iveagh House" is often used as a metonym for the department as a whole.The current...

     (Aire Gnóthaí Coigcríoch)
  4. Minister of National Defence
    Minister for Defence (Ireland)
    The Minister for Defence is the senior minister at the Department of Defence in the Government of Ireland. Under new arrangements this department is being merged with the Department of Justice over which Mr. Shatter will also preside....

     (Aire Cosanta)


In April 1919, the ministry was increased in size to not more than nine ministers. In August 1921 it underwent a final overhaul linked to the creation of a head of state titled the President of the Republic
President of the Irish Republic
President of the Republic was the title given to the head of the Irish ministry or Aireacht in August 1921 by an amendment to the Dáil Constitution, which replaced the previous title, Príomh Aire or President of Dáil Éireann...

. A ministry of six was created. These were a
  1. Secretary of State for Finance
    Minister for Finance (Ireland)
    The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

  2. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
    Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ireland)
    The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government of Ireland. Its headquarters are at Iveagh House, on St Stephen's Green in Dublin; "Iveagh House" is often used as a metonym for the department as a whole.The current...

  3. Secretary of State for Home Affairs
  4. Secretary of State for Defence
    Minister for Defence (Ireland)
    The Minister for Defence is the senior minister at the Department of Defence in the Government of Ireland. Under new arrangements this department is being merged with the Department of Justice over which Mr. Shatter will also preside....

  5. Secretary of State for Local Government
  6. Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
    Minister for Economic Affairs (Ireland)
    The Minister for Economic Affairs was the name of a government department in the Government of the Irish Republic, the self-declared state which was established in 1919 by Dáil Éireann, the parliamentary assembly made up of the majority of Irish MPs elected in the 1918 general election. The...



A number of previous cabinet ministers, notably Constance Markievicz, were demoted to under-secretary level.

The Aireacht met as often as secrecy and safety allowed.

Head of State/Head of Government

Initially, partly because of the division between republicans and monarchists, the Irish Republic had no head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. The Republic's leader was known initially as the "Príomh Aire", literally "prime minister" but referred to in the English version of the constitution as "President of the Ministry". Later the English title President of Dáil Éireann
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

also came to be used for the same post, especially during President de Valera's tour of the United States. On 26 August 1921, de Valera had the Dáil appoint him to the new post of "President of the Republic
President of the Irish Republic
President of the Republic was the title given to the head of the Irish ministry or Aireacht in August 1921 by an amendment to the Dáil Constitution, which replaced the previous title, Príomh Aire or President of Dáil Éireann...

", so that he would be regarded as the head of state in the forthcoming Treaty negotiations. This was to assert the claim that the negotiations were between two sovereign states (Ireland's view), and not that it was between the British government and local politicians (Britain's view). After de Valera's resignation in January 1922, his successors Griffith and Cosgrave called themselves "President of Dáil Éireann".

Military

The military branch of the Irish Republic were the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

 who, in the course of the War of Independence, who were formally renamed the "Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

" to reflect their status as the national army of the declared republic. Despite being theoretically under the command of the Dáil's Ministry, in practice individual IRA columns enjoyed a high level of autonomy, subject to H.Q. in Dublin. Arrangements were made in August 1920 for the volunteers to swear an oath of allegiance to the Dáil.

Judiciary and police

The judicial arm of the Irish Republic consisted of a network of Dáil Courts
Dáil Courts
During the Irish War of Independence, the Dáil Courts were the judicial branch of government of the short-lived Irish Republic. They were formally established by a decree of the First Dáil Éireann on 29 June 1920, replacing more limited Arbitration Courts that had been authorised a year earlier...

 administered by IRA officers, which at first operated in parallel with the British judicial system, and gradually came to supersede it as public opinion swung against the British in some parts of the island. British law allowed for the arbitration
Arbitration
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution , is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons , by whose decision they agree to be bound...

 of disputes, provided the parties agreed to it, and as the Dáil Courts were initially described as arbitration panels it was impossible to outlaw them. In other cases the Dáil Courts proved more popular because of the speed and efficiency of their functioning, compared to the local Assize courts. They proved unable to deal with violent crimes but acquired a good reputation with farmers, particularly in dealing harshly with cases of cattle rustling.

The enforcement of law and the decrees of the Dáil Courts was vested in the Irish Republican Police
Irish Republican Police
The Irish Republican Police was the police force of the 1919-1922 Irish Republic and was administered by the Department for Home Affairs of that government.-Foundation:...

.

Functionality

The Irish Republic had some of the attributes of a functioning state; a ministry (with a head of state in the latter stages), a parliament, a courts system, a police force and a constitution. The extent to which these functioned fluctuated in different parts of the island, with the success or otherwise of republican institutions depended both on the degree of control of the IRA in the region and on the brutality of the Black and Tans
Black and Tans
The Black and Tans was one of two newly recruited bodies, composed largely of British World War I veterans, employed by the Royal Irish Constabulary as Temporary Constables from 1920 to 1921 to suppress revolution in Ireland...

 and Auxiliaries, active from June 1920 to July 1921. The more brutal the 'Tans' the more they alienated the local populace from the Dublin Castle administration and Assize courts and the greater success the republican alternatives had. Some measures such as the Dáil Éireann
First Dáil
The First Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 1919–1921. In 1919 candidates who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann"...

 Decree of 6 August 1920 prohibiting emigration without a permit were violently enforced.

At the height of the Irish War of Independence, as Tan atrocities reached such as scale as to result in the burning of the city of Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 (leading to widespread criticism in the United States and from King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

), the Republican Police and Dáil courts reached their zenith, and senior barristers who had qualified within the British courts system also represented defendants in the Dáil Courts. But even after the Truce of July 1921, when the Tans had stopped their activities, the continuing effectiveness of the Dáil courts and police was seen to be patchy. This was in part due to standing down the Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

 (RIC) in early 1922 before a new police force was ready to operate; in the interim the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 (IRA), dividing within itself over the Treaty, was the only police force.

The main function of the Dáil courts was in resolving civil cases and very rarely dealt with criminal matters. The cabinet met frequently, though necessarily in secret, and dealt with everyday matters as well as the conduct of the war. The Dáil sat for 21 days before the Truce of July 1921, and more frequently after that.

Support for the Republic, though it ebbed and flowed constantly during the war, was strongest in the south of the country. The claim to authority of the Irish Republic was rejected in Unionist-dominated Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, and south County Dublin.

Recognition

Efforts by President de Valera in the United States, and the republic's "ambassador" at the Versailles Peace Conference, Seán T. O'Kelly
Sean T. O'Kelly
Seán Thomas O'Kelly was the second President of Ireland . He was a member of Dáil Éireann from 1918 until his election as President. During this time he served as Minister for Local Government and Minister for Finance...

, to win international recognition failed. O'Kelly had already established the Republic's "embassy" in Paris in April 1919, and Dr. Patrick McCartan
Patrick McCartan
Patrick McCartan was an Irish republican and politician. He was born in Eskerbuoy, near Carrickmore, County Tyrone to Bernard McCartan and Bridget Rafferty. He emigrated to the USA as a young man and became a member of Clan na Gael in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and edited the journal Irish Freedom...

 set one up in Washington, D.C. at the same time. Despite heavy lobbying from prominent Irish-Americans, President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 refused to raise the Irish case at the conference as he did not want to antagonize the British. Finally in June "Ireland's demand for recognition" was conveyed to Georges Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau
Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was a French statesman, physician and journalist. He served as the Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909, and again from 1917 to 1920. For nearly the final year of World War I he led France, and was one of the major voices behind the Treaty of Versailles at the...

, the Conference Chairman, without effect.

In June 1920 a "Draft Treaty between the new Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 and the Republic of Ireland" was circulated in Dublin. E. H. Carr, the historian of early Bolshevism
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

, considered that ".. the negotiations were not taken very seriously on either side."

The issue of recognition raises the question of how much the new Dáil, particularly de Valera, fully appreciated the developing relationship between the victorious powers following the war. Wilson had promised self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

 for nations and international norms were changing. Article V. of Wilson's 'Fourteen Points
Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points was a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe...

' outlined in January 1918 did not, however, promise that all colonies would be decolonised on demand at the end of the war, but that a colonial population's claim for arbitration would have "equal weight" with any claim by its government. In declaring independence unilaterally for the whole island, the new republic had denied "equal weight" to the wishes of Britain or the Irish loyalists. Having misunderstood or misread this part of Wilson's formula, the Dáil still required his support against his main ally.

The obvious problem was that the Irish Republic's Declaration of Independence of January 1919 was hostile to Britain, which was one of the four main powers arranging terms at Versailles. The RSFSR
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 was also not invited to Versailles. Although armistices were holding, World War I was technically unfinished until the treaties ending it were signed, starting with Germany on 28 June 1919. The British view was that the 69 new Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 members of parliament had chosen not to take their seats at Westminster (to the relief of the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

), and that an Irish settlement would be arranged after the more important treaties with the former Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 had been signed off, involving Sinn Féin as the representatives of the majority, whether or not it had proclaimed a republic.

The Irish Republic was never recognised by the British government. Because its original contents were not seen as workable, the government under David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 abandoned plans to amend the Third Home Rule Act enacted in 1914, having called the Irish Convention
Irish Convention
The Irish Convention was an assembly which sat in Dublin, Ireland from July 1917 until March 1918 to address the Irish Question and other constitutional problems relating to an early enactment of self-government for Ireland, to debate its wider future, discuss and come to an understanding on...

 in 1917-18. The British cabinet started in September 1919 to work from Walter Long's 1918 proposals, and in December 1920 they enacted the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

. This allowed for two home rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

 Irelands, partitioning Ireland into Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland was a short-lived autonomous region of the United Kingdom established on 3 May 1921 and dissolved on 6 December 1922.Southern Ireland was established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 together with its sister region, Northern Ireland...

. Each Ireland was to have a two bicameral parliaments, with a shared chief executive, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and a Council of Ireland
Council of Ireland
The Council of Ireland may refer to one of two councils, one established in the 1920s, the other in the 1970s.-Council of Ireland :...

 which was intended to be an embryonic all-Ireland single parliament. The proposal was greeted with mild enthusiasm among Irish Unionists in the new Northern Ireland, who had never sought their own home rule, but was rejected by a combination of Irish Republicans, Irish Nationalists and Irish Unionists who were not in Northern Ireland. While rejecting the right of the British parliament to legislate for Ireland, Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 took the opportunity of the two general elections in May 1921, one in the north and one in the south, to seek a renewed mandate for the Republic. No contests resulted in the south, with all seats returning the nominated Sinn Féin candidate. The new parliament in Belfast first sat on 7 June 1921, and while it did not formally recognise the Republic its premier, Sir James Craig
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon, PC, PC , was a prominent Irish unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland...

, had secretly met with Éamon de Valera in Dublin in May 1921. This was a de facto recognition of de Valera's position, but also recognition by de Valera that Craig could not be ignored.

The Truce signed between representatives of the Dáil and Britain was agreed on 9 July 1921, to become effective from noon on 11 July. This marked the end of the Irish War of Independence. On 14 July 1921 Éamon de Valera met David Lloyd George in London for the first time to find some common ground for a settlement. He had been invited as: "the chosen leader of the great majority in Southern Ireland", but tried to extend this to a British recognition of the republic. In August, in preparation for the formalities, de Valera had the Dáil upgrade his status from prime minister to full President of the Republic. As a head of state he then accredited envoys plenipotentiary, an accreditation approved by the Dáil. This accreditation gave them the legal ability to sign a treaty without waiting for approval from the Republic's cabinet, some of whose members were among the envoys. However, the British view was that they were not envoys, and they recognised them only as elected members of parliament representing those Irish people who wanted independence in one form or another.

By September the British called for a conference with the envoys "to ascertain how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations". De Valera replied on 12 September "Our nation has formally declared its independence and recognises itself as a sovereign State." The same invitation was repeated and negotiations started on 11 October.

The Treaty

Each side in the 1921 negotiations used sufficiently elastic language to enable the Republic's delegates to suggest that was taking place was inter-state negotiations, while allowing the British Government to suggest that it was an internal United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 matter. The Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, when signed on 6 December, was similarly put through three processes to satisfy both sides. It was:
  • passed by Dáil Éireann, to satisfy the belief in the Republic's supporters that it was a state and its parliament was sovereign;
  • passed by the United Kingdom, to satisfy British constitutional theory that a treaty had been negotiated between His Majesty's Government and His Majesty's subjects in Ireland;
  • passed by the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, to reflect the belief in British constitutional law that Ireland already possessed a home rule parliament. In reality the House of Commons had the same membership (bar four) as the Dáil, though anti-Treaty members of the House stayed away.


Finally, the two structures of government (the British government's administration in Dublin Castle) and the Republic's began a process of convergence, to cover the year until the coming into force of the new Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

.

Dissolution

By approving the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 on 7 January 1922 and the Constitution of the Irish Free State
Constitution of the Irish Free State
The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the first constitution of the independent Irish state. It was enacted with the adoption of the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act 1922, of which it formed a part...

 in October 1922 the Dáil agreed to the replacement of the Republic with the system of constitutional monarchy of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

.

In January 1922 the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland
Provisional Government of Southern Ireland
The provisional Government of Southern Ireland was the provisional government for the administration of Southern Ireland between 16 January 1922 and 6 December 1922. The government was effectively a transitional administration for the period between the ratifying of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the...

 came into being, but the Irish Republic was not dismantled; its institutions continued to operate in parallel with those of the provisional authority. Michael Collins was designated as Chairman of the Provisional Government, in theory answerable to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and appointed by the Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant
The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representatives in the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. Usually a retired local notable, senior military officer, peer or business person is given the post...

 In contrast, the Republic's Aireacht continued with Arthur Griffith as President of the Republic following de Valera's resignation. However the two administrations were progressively merged until in August, following the deaths of both Griffith and Collins, W. T. Cosgrave assumed both leadership positions simultaneously and so the two most important offices effectively became one, producing a unique constitutional hybrid; a crown-appointed prime minister and a president of a republic. Both parliaments, the Second Dáil and the House of Commons, were replaced by a joint parliament known variously as the Third Dáil
Third Dáil
The Third Dáil, also known as the Provisional Parliament or the Constituent Assembly, was:*the "provisional parliament" or "constituent assembly" of Southern Ireland from 9 August 1922 until 6 December 1922; and...

 or the Provisional Parliament, elected on 16 June 1922. As a constituent assembly
Constituent assembly
A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

 this enacted a new constitution with the passage of the Irish Free State Constitution
Constitution of the Irish Free State
The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the first constitution of the independent Irish state. It was enacted with the adoption of the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act 1922, of which it formed a part...

 Act.

On 6 December 1922, the Constitution of the Irish Free State came into effect and the institutions of both the Irish Republic and the Provisional Government ceased to be.

Legacy

The goal of those who established the Irish Republic was to create an independent republic comprising the whole island of Ireland. They failed in this goal, but the Irish Republic paved the way for the creation of the Irish Free State, a Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 dominion with self-government. By 1937, under a new constitution, the Free State became a fully independent republic with the self-designation 'Ireland'.

The Irish Republic in the post-Treaty Republican tradition

Since the Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 of 1922–1923 the Irish Republic has been an important symbol for radical republicans, amongst others. The Civil War began in June 1922 when both Sinn Féin and the IRA split between those pragmatists, who supported the Treaty, and those hardline republicans who opposed the compromises it contained. In particular the anti-Treaty faction objected to the continued role in the Irish constitution that would be granted to the British monarch under the Irish Free State. When the Dáil ratified the Treaty its opponents of the agreement walked out, arguing that the Dáil was attempting to 'destroy' the Irish Republic, and that its members had no right to do so. After the Irish electorate voted in a majority of pro-Treaty candidates to the Dáil, Éamon de Valera declared that "the people have no right to do wrong."

Opponents of the Treaty refused to recognise either the Provisional Government or, when it was established, the Irish Free State, insisting that the Irish Republic continued to exist as a de jure entity. Their line of authority included some TDs but also the Army Executive of the IRA which decided in early 1922 that it, and no longer the Dáil, was the only body loyal to the republic. In August 1920 it had sworn allegiance to both the Dáil and the republic, and felt that the Dáil had broken its oath when it voted to approve the Treaty. Arguments about abandoning the republic had, however, been very fully discussed during the Treaty Debates.

The anti-treaty faction also refused to recognise the Third Dáil, as the Second Dáil had not met to dissolve itself formally (though the "declaration of election" on 19 May, which gave dates for nominations and the election, was not opposed at the time). Anti-Treaty Republicans considered the Third Dáil, and all future institutions arising from it, as illegal. (See Second Dáil
Second Dáil
The Second Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 16 August 1921 until 8 June 1922. From 1919–1922 Dáil Éireann was the revolutionary parliament of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic. The Second Dáil consisted of members elected in 1921...

).

The anti-Treaty side was then defeated in the Civil War. Most militant opposition to the Free State came to an end on 24 May 1923 when Frank Aiken
Frank Aiken
Frank Aiken was a commander of the Irish Republican Army and later an Irish politician. A founding-member of Fianna Fáil, Aiken was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1923 and at each subsequent election until 1973...

, chief-of-staff of the IRA issued the order to "dump arms" and Éamon de Valera issued his address to the "Legion of the Rearguard". Éamon de Valera continued as president of the Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 political party. In March 1926, Éamon de Valera, along with most anti-Treaty politicians, founded a new party called 'Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

' and ended their boycott of the institutions of the Free State.

Nonetheless a hard-line minority continued to reject the legitimacy of the Free State and its successor, "Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

". In 1938, a group calling itself the Executive Council of the Second Dáil delegated its self-declared authority to the IRA Army Council. The Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 ultimately ceased military operations against Ireland in 1948 but continued to consider itself the legitimate government of all Ireland. The Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 (PIRA) split with the original IRA in December 1969 and afterward claimed that it was the sole legtimate representative of the Irish Republic. It based its claim, in part, on the support of Second Dail member Tom Maguire
Tom Maguire
Tom Maguire was an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army and led the South Mayo flying column....

. The PIRA conducted a campaign of bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s until 1998, and its political wing, the modern Sinn Féin party, used to insist that the Irish Republic was still legally in existence, with the Provisional IRA as its national army, and the IRA Army Council
IRA Army Council
The IRA Army Council was the decision-making body of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, more commonly known as the IRA, a paramilitary group dedicated to bringing about the end of the Union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The council had seven members, said by the...

 Ireland's sole legitimate government. This view are is still upheld by Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin or RSF is an unregisteredAlthough an active movement, RSF is not registered as a political party in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. minor political party operating in Ireland. It emerged in 1986 as a result of a split in Sinn Féin...

 and the Continuity IRA. As of 2006, the Provisional IRA continue to use the title Oglaigh na hÉireann (lit. Volunteers of Ireland), the official Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 title for the Irish Defence Forces
Irish Defence Forces
The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...

. Continuity IRA based their claims in part on the support they received from the last surviving anti-treaty Second Dáil member, Tom Maguire
Tom Maguire
Tom Maguire was an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army and led the South Mayo flying column....

.

See also

  • History of Ireland (1801-1922)
  • History of the Republic of Ireland
    History of the Republic of Ireland
    The Irish state originally came into being in 1922 as the Irish Free State, a dominion of the British Commonwealth, having seceded from the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It comprises of 26 of Ireland's 32 counties...

  • Names of the Irish state
    Names of the Irish state
    There have been various names of the Irish state, some of which have been controversial. The constitutional name of the contemporary state is Ireland, the same as the island of Ireland, of which it comprises the major portion...


External links

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