The primary aim of this page is to provide a narrative basis for the categorisation of profiles on Wikitree that are relevant to its government from the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 onwards. The relevant categories listed are all under Category: Ireland, Government and Politics Post-1922.
It should be read in the context of the timeline of Irish history. It should be clear that this page is not intended to provide an extensive history of Ireland in the period - the relevant Wikipedia entries are referenced to aid further reading.
Irish Free State 1922-1937
The Irish Free State was established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.
The Free State was a Dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It comprised 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland. Northern Ireland, which comprised the remaining six counties, exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new state. The government consisted of the Governor-General, the representative of the King, and the Executive Council (cabinet), which replaced both the revolutionary Dáil Government and the Provisional Government set up under the Treaty. W. T. Cosgrave, who had led both of these governments since August 1922, became the first President of the Executive Council (prime minister).
The Oireachtas or legislature consisted of Dáil Éireann (the lower house) and Seanad Éireann, also known as the Senate. Members of the Dáil were required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the Free State and to declare fidelity to the king. The oath was a key issue for opponents of the Treaty, who refused to take the oath and therefore did not take their seats. Pro-Treaty members, who formed Cumann na nGaedheal in 1923, held an effective majority in the Dáil from 1922 to 1927, and thereafter ruled as a minority government until 1932.
In 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the Parliament of the United Kingdom relinquished its remaining authority to legislate for the Free State and the other dominions. This had the effect of making the dominions fully sovereign states. The Free State thus became the first internationally recognised independent Irish state.
In the first months of the Free State, the Irish Civil War was waged between the newly established National Army and the anti-Treaty IRA, who refused to recognise the state. The Civil War ended in victory for the government forces, with the anti-Treaty forces dumping their arms in May 1923. The anti-Treaty political party, Sinn Féin, refused to take its seats in the Dáil, leaving the relatively small Labour Party as the only opposition party. In 1926, when Sinn Féin president Éamon de Valera failed to have this policy reversed, he resigned from Sinn Féin and founded Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil entered the Dáil following the 1927 general election, and entered government after the 1932 general election, when it became the largest party.
De Valera abolished the Oath of Allegiance. In 1937 he drafted a new constitution, which was passed by a referendum in July of that year. The Free State came to an end with the coming into force of a new constitution on 29 December 1937 when the state took the name "Ireland".
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Republic of Ireland. It asserts the national sovereignty of the Irish people. The constitution falls broadly within the tradition of liberal democracy, being based on a system of representative democracy. It guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected non-executive president, a bicameral parliament based on the Westminster system, a separation of powers and judicial review.
It is the second constitution of the Irish state since independence, replacing the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State. It came into force on 29 December 1937 following a statewide plebiscite held on 1 July 1937. The Constitution may be amended solely by a national referendum.
The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 is an Act of the Oireachtas which declared that Ireland may be officially described as the Republic of Ireland, and vested in the President of Ireland the power to exercise the executive authority of the state in its external relations, on the advice of the Government of Ireland. The Act was signed into law on 21 December 1948 and came into force on 18 April 1949, Easter Monday,the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of the Easter Rising.
The Act ended the remaining statutory role of the British monarchy in relation to the state, by repealing the 1936 External Relations Act, which had vested in George VI and his successors those functions which the Act now transferred to the President.
The Oireachtas, sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:
- The President of Ireland
- The two houses of the Oireachtas: Dáil Éireann (lower house) and Seanad Éireann (upper house).
The houses of the Oireachtas sit in Leinster House in Dublin, an eighteenth-century ducal palace. The directly elected Dáil is by far the more powerful branch of the Oireachtas. A TD (Teachta Dála) is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas. It is the equivalent of terms such as 'Member of Parliament' (MP) or 'Member of Congress' used in other countries. The official translation of the term is 'Deputy to the Dáil', although a more literal translation is "Assembly Delegate".
Seanad Éireann (Senate of Ireland) is the upper house of the Oireachtas. It is commonly called the Seanad or Senate and its members senators. Unlike Dáil Éireann, it is not directly elected but consists of a mixture of members chosen by various methods. Its powers are much weaker than those of the Dáil and it can only delay laws with which it disagrees, rather than veto them outright. It has been located, since its establishment, in Leinster House.
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland. The Constitution of Ireland vests executive authority in a government which is headed by the Taoiseach, the head of government. The government is composed of government ministers, all of whom must be members of the Irish parliament. The Taoiseach must be nominated and approved by the Dáil Éireann. Following the nomination of the Dáil, the President of Ireland appoints the Taoiseach to his role. The President also appoints members of the government, including the Tánaiste, the deputy head of government, on nomination of the Taoiseach. The government is dependent upon the Oireachtas to make primary legislation and as such, the government needs to command a majority in the Dáil in order to ensure support and confidence for budgets and government bills to pass. The Government is also known as the cabinet.
Politicans are defined by membership of a political party. The modern political parties in Ireland are defined under Ireland Political Parties. This category is also under the Irish and European Politicans hierarchy.
The Oireachtas holds the categories for profiles who have played a part in the running of the country since 1922. This includes:
- Presidents of Ireland
- Government Ministers
- Teachtaí Dála, defined by Dail membership
- [[:Category: Seanadóirí]|Senators]], defined by Seanad membership.
Note that the categories use the plural forms.