Aireacht

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The Aireacht (Irish pronunciation: [aɾʲəxt̪ˠ], meaning "Ministry") was the cabinet of the 1919–1922 Irish Republic. The Aireacht was originally established by the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil in 1919, after it issued the Irish Declaration of Independence. This constitution provided for a cabinet consisting of a head of government, known as the Príomh Aire or 'President of Dáil Éireann', and four other ministers. The Irish Republic modelled itself on the parliamentary system of government and so its cabinet was theoretically appointed by and answerable to the Dáil. Under the constitution the President was elected by the Dáil, while the remaining ministers were nominated by the President and then ratified by the Dáil. The Dáil could dismiss both the cabinet as a whole and individual ministers by passing a resolution. Ministers could also be dismissed by the President.

A number of changes were made to the cabinet system after 1919. The number of ministers was increased and, while as established in 1919 the Irish Republic had no explicit head of state, in 1921 the head of the Aireacht was renamed as 'President of the Republic'. For a brief period the members of this president's cabinet became known as "secretaries of state" rather than ministers. When the Fourth Ministry assumed office in 1922, with Arthur Griffith as its head, cabinet members were once again described as ministers and Griffith, a monarchist, adopted the practice of referring to himself as the President of Dáil Éireann, although President of the Republic remained his official title.

For much of 1922 the Aireacht governed in parallel with the Provisional Government, an interim administration established under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and the membership of the two cabinets overlapped. This anomalous situation came to an end in August 1922 when the membership of both administrations was merged into the Second Provisional Government. In December 1922, when the Irish Free State came into being, both the Aireacht and the Provisional Government were abolished and superseded by the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.

List of Aireachtaí[edit]

Dáil Election/Formed Ministry President Party
1st 1918 election 1st Ministry Cathal Brugha Sinn Féin
1919 2nd Ministry Éamon de Valera Sinn Féin
2nd 1921 election 3rd Ministry Éamon de Valera Sinn Féin
1922 (Jan) 4th Ministry Arthur Griffith Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin
3rd 1922 (Aug) 5th Ministry W. T. Cosgrave Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin

See also[edit]