Irish Free State (Agreement) Act 1922
|Long title||An Act to give the force of Law to certain Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, and to enable effect to be given thereto, and for other purposes incidental thereto or consequential thereon.|
|Citation||12 & 13 Geo. 5 c. 4|
|Royal assent||31 March 1922|
|Repealed by||Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1989 [UK]; Statute Law Revision Act 2007 [RoI]|
The Irish Free State (Agreement) Act 1922 (12 & 13 Geo. 5 c. 4) was an Act of the British Parliament passed on 31 March 1922. It gave the force of law to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which was scheduled to the Act.
Section 1(1) of the Act provides that:
- the "Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland set forth in the Schedule to this Act shall have the force of law from the date of the passing of this Act”.
Section 1(2) provided that for the purposes of giving effect to Article 17 of the Treaty:
- the British Government could by Orders in Council transfer powers to the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland;
- the Parliament of Southern Ireland would be dissolved within four months from the passing of the Act; and
- elections would be held for "the House of the Parliament" to which the Provisional Government would be responsible. The Act did not give a name to that Parliament but said that in matters within the jurisdiction of the Provisional Government (i.e. only certain matters concerning Southern Ireland), it would have power to make laws in like manner as the Parliament of the Irish Free State when constituted.
Sections 11 and 12 provided for the right of Northern Ireland to opt out of the new dominion and remain within the United Kingdom.
11. Until the expiration of one month from the passing of the Act of Parliament for the ratification of this instrument, the powers of the Parliament and the Government of the Irish Free State shall not be exercisable as respects Northern Ireland, and the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, shall, so far as they relate to Northern Ireland, remain of full force and effect, and no election shall be held for the return of members to serve in the Parliament of the Irish Free State for constituencies in Northern Ireland, unless a resolution is passed by both Houses of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in favour of the holding of such elections before the end of the said month.
12. If before the expiration of the said month, an address is presented to His Majesty by both Houses of the Parliament of Northern Ireland to that effect, the powers of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State shall no longer extend to Northern Ireland, and the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 (including those relating to the Council of Ireland), shall so far as they relate to Northern Ireland, continue to be of full force and effect, and this instrument shall have effect subject to the necessary modifications.
Effect and repeal
Notably, the Act (under Section 1(5) of the Act) was stated explicitly not to be the Act of Parliament for the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. That function was to fall to the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922. Instead, the Act was primarily intended to provide interim provisional arrangements necessary before the establishment of the Irish Free State, which under the Treaty had to be established on or before 6 December 1922.
By Order in Council under the Act, the British Government formally transferred powers to the existing Provisional Government on 1 April 1922. That Government had constituted itself on 14 January 1922 and had since chosen Michael Collins as its Chairman. Their Ministerial appointments now became official and were announced in Iris Oifigiúil No.19 of 4 April 1922.
The Irish Free State (Agreement) Act 1922 and the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 were repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1989, Schedule 1, Part III.
- "Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, signed at London, 6 December 1921" (PDF). League of Nations Treaty Series. 26 (626): 9–19.
- Final debate on 31 Mar 1922 -accessed 22 Jan 2009
- "An Act to give the force of Law to certain Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, and to enable effect to be given thereto, and for other purposes incidental thereto or consequential thereon." – preamble to the Act
- "(5) This Act shall not be deemed to be the Act of Parliament for the ratification of the said Articles of Agreement as from the passing whereof the month mentioned in Article 11 of the said Articles is to run"
- Taoiseach’s Website
- Text of the Act (HistoricalDocuments.org.uk)