Southern Ireland (1921–22)

Southern Ireland
Part of the United Kingdom

Disputed with the Irish Republic

Location of Southern Ireland
Location of  Southern Ireland  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & grey)
– in the United Kingdom  (green)

53°21′N 6°16′W / 53°21′N 6°16′W / 53.350; -6.267
GovernmentDevolved parliamentary legislature within constitutional monarchy
MonarchGeorge V
 • FirstMichael Collins
 • LastW. T. Cosgrave
LegislatureParliament of Southern Irelanda (until 27 May 1922)
Provisional Parliament
(9 August 1922 onwards; unicameral)
 • Upper houseSenate (until 27 May 1922)
 • Lower houseHouse of Commons
(until 27 May 1922)
 • Government of Ireland Act3 May 1921
 • Anglo-Irish Treaty6 December 1921
 • Provisional Government16 January 1922–5 December 1922
 • Irish Free State Constitution6 December 1922
Today part of Ireland
a. A Council of Ireland was also envisaged with "a view to the eventual establishment of a Parliament for the whole of Ireland" (Source: GOI Act)

Southern Ireland (Irish: Deisceart Éireann) was the larger of the two parts of Ireland that were created when Ireland was partitioned under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. It comprised 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland or about five-sixths of the area of the island, whilst the remaining six counties in the northeast of the island formed Northern Ireland.[1] Southern Ireland included County Donegal, despite it being the largest county in Ulster and the most northerly county in all of Ireland.

The Act of 1920, which came into force on 3 May 1921, was intended to create two self-governing territories within Ireland, each with its own parliament and governmental institutions, and both remaining within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It also contained provisions for co-operation between the two territories and for the eventual reunification of Ireland. However, in the 1921 elections for Southern Ireland's House of Commons, Sinn Féin candidates were returned unopposed in 124 of the 128 seats, and ignored the parliament, assembling instead as the Second Dáil.[2] The "Parliament of Southern Ireland"—consisting of the four unionist members—met only once.[3] Continuing unrest led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Provisional Government which administered Southern Ireland from 16 January 1922 to 5 December 1922: effectively a transitional administration for the period between the ratifying of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of the Irish Free State. Its legitimacy was disputed by the Anti-Treaty delegates to Dáil Éireann.

Southern Ireland, as a political entity, was superseded by the Irish Free State (which later became the independent state of Ireland) on 6 December 1922.[4]

Home Rule and Partition

The Government of Ireland Act 1920, also known as the Fourth Home Rule Act, was intended to provide a solution to the problem that had bedevilled Irish politics since the 1880s, namely the conflicting demands of Irish unionists and nationalists. Nationalists wanted a form of home rule, believing that Ireland was poorly served by Parliament at Westminster, Government at Whitehall and by that government's Irish offshoot, the Dublin Castle administration. Many unionists feared that a nationalist government in Dublin would impose tariffs that would unduly hit the north-eastern counties of the province of Ulster, which were not only predominantly Protestant but also the only industrial area of a largely agricultural island. They also feared a nationalist government could discriminate against Protestants after gaining political power over their interests in Ireland. Unionists bought and imported arms and assorted weapons from German arms dealer Bruno Spiro[5] and established the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to prevent Home Rule in Ulster.[6] In response to this, nationalists also imported arms and set up the Irish Volunteers. Partition, which was introduced by the Government of Ireland Act, was intended as a temporary solution, allowing Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland to be governed separately as regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. One of those most opposed to this partition settlement was the leader of Irish unionism, Dublin-born Sir Edward Carson, who felt that it was wrong to divide Ireland in two, and felt this would badly affect the position of southern and western unionists.

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Lâm Ài-ní-lân
dansk: Sydirland
Deutsch: Südirland
español: Irlanda del Sur
français: Irlande du Sud
한국어: 남아일랜드
Nederlands: Zuid-Ierland
português: Irlanda do Sul
română: Irlanda de Sud
Simple English: Southern Ireland
українська: Південна Ірландія
中文: 南愛爾蘭