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Opposition, decolonisation, and majority rights

A new analysis of the difficulties in normalising opposition in the Irish Free State, this book analyses the collision of nineteenth-century monolithic nationalist movements with the norms and expectations of multiparty parliamentary democracy. The Irish revolutionaries’ attempts to create a Gaelic, postcolonial state involved resolving tension between these two ideas. Smaller, economically driven parties such as the Labour and Farmers’ Parties attempted to move on from the revolution’s unnatural focus on nationalist political issues, while the larger revolutionary parties descended from Sinn Féin attempt to recreate or restore notions of revolutionary unity. This conflict made democracy and opposition hard to establish in the Irish Free State.


This book challenges the myths surrounding the Irish Free Constitution by analysing the document in its context, by looking at how the Constitution was drafted and elucidating the true nature of the document. It examines the reasons why the Constitution did not function as anticipated and investigates whether the failures of the document can be attributed to errors of judgment in the drafting process or to subsequent events and treatment of the document.

As well as giving a comprehensive account of the drafting stages and an analysis of the three alternative drafts for the first time, the book considers the intellectual influences behind the Constitution and the central themes of the document.

This work constitutes a new look at this historic document through a legal lens and the analysis benefits from the advantage of hindsight as well as the archival material now available.

Given the fact that the current Constitution substantially reproduces much of the 1922 text, the work will be of interest to modern constitutional scholars as well as legal historians and anyone with an interest in the period surrounding the creation of the Irish State.

Michael Robinson

Labour operated as an autonomous ‘Imperial Obligation’ within the Irish Free State. 5 Under the Transfer of Function Order (1922), the Free State Government was legally obliged to provide amnesty and prevent discrimination against those who had previously served in British services, including Great War veterans. 6 In March 1922, W. G. Fallon, Secretary of the City of Dublin War Pensions Committee, unsuccessfully put forward proposals to Michael Collins TD, Minister of

in Shell-shocked British Army veterans in Ireland, 1918–39
Laura Cahillane

9 The legacy of the Irish Free State Constitution Introduction Opinions diverge on the success of the Irish Free State Constitution. While some highlight positively the liberal democratic nature and experimental features of the Constitution,1 others concentrate on the number of amendments and the short lifespan of the document. The most extreme criticism is that the Constitution was ‘a deeply flawed project which ended in almost total failure’.2 However, that the 1937 Constitution retained and reused most of its predecessor is a testament to the earlier

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution
‘Shaking the blood-stained hand of Mr Collins’

This book is a history of the Irish civil service and its response to revolutionary changes in the State. It examines the response of the civil service to the threat of partition, World War, the emergence of the revolutionary forces of Dáil Éireann and the IRA through to the Civil War and the Irish Free State. Questioning the orthodox interpretation of evolution rather than revolution in the administration of the State, the book throws light on civil-service organisation in British-ruled Ireland, the process whereby Northern Ireland came into existence, the Dáil Éireann administration in the War of Independence, and civil-service attitudes to the new Irish Free State.

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County Galway and the Irish Free State 1922–32

This book focuses on the historical debate beyond the Irish revolution and introduces a new study of post-revolutionary experience in Ireland at a county level. It begins to build an image of regional political and social life in the immediate post-revolutionary period. The book discusses the turbulent years of 1922 and 1923, the local electorate's endorsement of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the beginning of domestic Irish politics in what was a vastly altered post-treaty world. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London and confirmed dominion status on a twenty-six-county Irish Free State. The book further examines four major themes in rural agrarian society: land, poverty, Irish language, and law and order. It establishes the level of deprivation in local society that the Cumann na nGaedheal government had to confront. Finally, the book attempts to relate the political record of the county to the existing socio-economic realities of local life. Particular emphasis is placed on the election campaigns, the issues involved, and the voting patterns and trends that emerged in Galway. In east Galway agrarian agitation shaped the nature of civil war violence. The civil war fanned a recrudescence in acute agrarian agitation in the west. In the aftermath of the civil war, the August 1923 general election was fought on the Free State government's terms.


Independent politicians are the metaphorical equivalent of sheep who stray from the flock, who would rather discover fresh pastures than graze on their own. This book includes a study, a detailed analysis of these independents, primarily of the factors that explain their presence and survival in the midst of one of the longest enduring party democracies in the world. Independents have been a constant feature of the Irish electoral landscape, since the 1922 elections in the Irish Free State. The structure of the book is built around five central premises that explain the permissiveness of independents. The book discusses the openness of the party system, indicating the Downsian nature of independents as they represent groups not catered for by the parties. It presents an overview of independents' electoral fate in other parliamentary democracies, with a focus on Australia and Japan, before examining their fate in Irish elections. In the Irish case, the level of heterogeneity between independents has varied. Providing an insight into the make-up of the independent voter, the book examines the contributions of seven independent politicians, who between them have sat in local government, the Dail, the Seanad and the European Parliament. A party-centred culture is a suppressing agent against independents. In contrast, a permissive candidate-centred culture in Ireland contributes to their significance. Such a political culture is facilitated by a permissive electoral system. The presence of non-party parliamentarians in a mature and stable party democracy is the puzzle that the book has sought to solve.

Welfare and healthcare reform in revolutionary and independent Ireland

This book explores welfare provision in Ireland from the revolutionary period to the 1940s, This work is a significant addition to the growing historiography of twentieth-century Ireland which moves beyond political history. It demonstrates that concepts of respectability, deservingness, and social class where central dynamics in Irish society and welfare practices. This book provides the first major study of local welfare practices, policies, and attitudes towards poverty and the poor in this era.

This book’s exploration of the poor law during revolutionary and independent Ireland provides fresh and original insights into this critical juncture in Irish history. It charts the transformation of the former workhouse system into a network of local authority welfare and healthcare institutions including county homes, county and hospital hospitals, and mother and baby homes. This book provides historical context to current day debates and controversies relating to the institutionalisation of unwed mothers and child welfare policies.

This book undertakes two cases studies on county Kerry and Cork city; also, Irish experiences are placed against the backdrop of wider transnational trends.

This work has multiple audiences and will appeal to those interested in Irish social, culture, economic and political history. This book will also appeal to historians of welfare, the poor law, and the social history of medicine. It also informs modern-day social affairs.

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Laura Cahillane

.  4 A.E. Malone, ‘Party Government in the Irish Free State’ (1929) 44 (3) Political Science Quarterly 363.  5 That independent thought was not tolerated is also evident from O’Brien’s statement  1  2 120 Anti-party politics Committee members had suffered during the days when the Irish Nationalist Party dominated, ‘they knew that a strong party organisation meant the inevitable suppression of independent political opinion, and they knew that in its earlier stages certainly the Irish Free State would require more than anything else freedom of political thought

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution
Martin Maguire

M1206 MAGUIRE TEXT.qxp:Andy Q7 17/3/08 08:50 Page 122 4 The Provisional Government and the civil service, 1922 Introduction  -  of December 1921 provided for the formation of an Irish Provisional Government to take control of the Dublin Castle administration and write a constitution for the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann). The government of the Irish Free State with executive and administrative responsibilities would come into being within one year of the Treaty. The stability of Irish democracy in the aftermath of revolution and civil

in The civil service and the revolution in Ireland, 1912–38