Irish House of Commons

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Irish House of Commons

Teach na gComóntach or Teach na dTeachtaí
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Established1297
Disbanded31 December 1800
Succeeded byHouse of Commons of the United Kingdom
Leadership
John Foster (1785–1801)
Seats3001
Elections
First past the post with limited suffrage
Meeting place
The Irish House of Commons in 1780 by Francis Wheatley.jpg
The House of Commons in session (by Francis Wheatley, 1780)
Footnotes
1 In 1800
See also: House of Commons of Great Britain

The Irish House of Commons (Irish: Teach na gComóntach or Teach na dTeachtaí) was the lower house of the Parliament of Ireland that existed from 1297 until 1800. The upper house was the House of Lords. The membership of the House of Commons was directly elected, but on a highly restrictive franchise, similar to the Unreformed House of Commons in contemporary England and Great Britain. In counties, forty-shilling freeholders were enfranchised whilst in most boroughs it was either only the members of self-electing corporations or a highly-restricted body of freemen that were able to vote for the borough's representatives. Most notably, Catholics were disqualified from sitting in the Irish parliament from 1691, even though they comprised the vast majority of the Irish population. From 1728 until 1793 they were also disfranchised. Most of the population of all religions had no vote. The vast majority of parliamentary boroughs were pocket boroughs, the private property of an aristocratic patron. When these boroughs were disfranchised under the Act of Union, the patron was awarded £15,000 compensation for each.[1]

The British-appointed Irish executive, under the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was not answerable to the House of Commons but to the British government. However, the Chief Secretary for Ireland was usually a member of the Irish parliament. In the Commons, business was presided over by the Speaker. The House of Commons was abolished when the Irish parliament merged with its British counterpart in 1801 under the Act of Union, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The House sat for the last time in Parliament House, Dublin on 2 August 1800.

Speaker of the Commons[edit]

Drawing of the front of the Irish Parliament House with the dome, seen from the street-level, in the 18th century

The Speaker of the Irish House of Commons was the presiding officer of the House and its most senior official. The position was one of considerable power and prestige, and in the absence of a government chosen from and answerable to the Commons, he was the dominant political figure in the Parliament. The last Speaker was John Foster.

Constituencies[edit]

Engraving of section of the Irish House of Commons chamber by Peter Mazell based on the drawing by Rowland Omer 1767

The House was elected in the same way as the British House of Commons. By the time of the Union, the shape of the House had been fixed with two members elected for each of the 32 Counties of Ireland, two members for each of 117 Boroughs, and two members for Dublin University, a total of 300 members. The number of Boroughs invited to return members had originally been small (only 55 Boroughs existed in 1603) but was doubled by the Stuart monarchs.

Constituency Type County Creation[n 1] Enfranchised Fate after the union
Antrim Borough Borough Antrim 1666 Potwalloper Disfranchised
Antrim County County Antrim 1570[2] Freeholders Two seats
Ardee Borough Louth 1378 Corporation Disfranchised
Ards County Down By 1560[3] Already disfranchised[n 2]
Ardfert Borough Kerry 1639? Corporation Disfranchised
Armagh Borough Borough Armagh 1613 (26 March) [4] Corporation One seat
Armagh County County Armagh 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Two seats
Askeaton Borough Limerick 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Athboy Borough Meath By 1560[3] Manor Disfranchised
Athenry Borough Galway 1310? Corporation Disfranchised
Athlone Borough Westmeath 1606 (10 December)[4] Corporation One seat
Athy Borough Kildare By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Augher Borough Tyrone 1613 (15 April)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Ballynakill Borough Queen's County 1612 (10 December)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Ballyshannon Borough Donegal 1613 (23 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Baltimore Borough Cork 1613 (25 March)[4] Potwalloper Disfranchised
Baltinglass Borough Wicklow 1664 Corporation Disfranchised
Banagher Borough King's County 1629 Corporation Disfranchised
Bandonbridge Borough Cork 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation One seat
Bangor Borough Down 1613 (18 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Bannow Borough Wexford Between 1614 and 1692 Corporation Disfranchised
Belfast Borough Antrim 1613 (27 April)[4] Corporation One seat
Belturbet Borough Cavan 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Blessington Borough Wicklow 1670 Corporation Disfranchised
Boyle Borough Roscommon 1613 (25 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Callan Borough Kilkenny 1585 Corporation Disfranchised
Carlingford Borough Louth 13?? Corporation Disfranchised
Carlow Borough Borough Carlow 1613 (19 April)[4] Corporation One seat
Carlow County County Carlow 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Carrick Borough Leitrim 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Carrickfergus County borough Antrim[n 3] 1326 Freeholder and householder One seat
Carysfort Borough Wicklow 1629 Corporation Disfranchised
Cashel Borough Tipperary By 1585[3] Corporation One seat
Castlebar Borough Mayo 1613 (26 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Castlemartyr Borough Cork 1676 Corporation Disfranchised
Cavan Borough Borough Cavan 1610 (15 November)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Cavan County County Cavan 1579[6] or 1584[7] or 1585[5] Freeholders Two seats
Charlemont Borough Armagh 1613 (29 April)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Charleville Borough Cork 1673 Corporation Disfranchised
Clare County Clare By 1560 Freeholders Two seats
Clogher Borough Tyrone Between 1614 and 1692 Ecclesiastical Disfranchised
Clonakilty Borough Cork 1613 (5 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Clonmel Borough Tipperary By 1560[3] Corporation One seat
Clonmines Borough Wexford Between 1614 and 1692 Corporation Disfranchised
Coleraine Borough Londonderry 1613 (25 March)[4] Corporation One seat
Connacht County Multiple[n 4] 1297 Already disfranchised[n 4]
Cork City County borough Cork[n 3] 1299 Freeholder and Freemen Two seats
Cork County County Cork 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Coleraine County County Londonderry 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Already disfranchised
Dingle Borough Kerry By 1585[3][8] Corporation Disfranchised
Donegal Borough Borough Donegal 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Donegal County County Donegal 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Two seats
Doneraile Borough Cork 1640 Manor Disfranchised
Down County Down 1570[2] Freeholders Two seats
Downpatrick Borough Down 1586 Potwalloper One seat
Drogheda County borough Louth[n 3] 1299 Freeholders and freemen One seat
Dublin City County borough Dublin[n 3] 1299 Freeholders and freemen Two seats
Dublin County County Dublin 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Dublin University University Dublin[n 5] 1603 Graduates One seat
Duleek Borough Meath Between 1614 and 1692 Corporation Disfranchised
Dundalk Borough Louth By 1560[3] Corporation One seat
Dungannon Borough Tyrone 1612 (27 November)[4] Corporation One seat
Dungarvan Borough Waterford By 1560[3] Potwalloper One seat
Dunleer Borough Louth 1679 Corporation Disfranchised
Ennis Borough Clare 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation One seat
Enniscorthy Borough Wexford 1613 (25 May)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Enniskillen Borough Fermanagh 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation One seat
Fermanagh County Fermanagh 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Two seats
Ferns County Wexford By 1579[9] Freeholders Already disfranchised[n 6]
Fethard Borough Tipperary 1613 (15 April)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Fethard Borough Wexford 1613 (15 April)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Fore Borough Westmeath Between 1614 and 1692 Corporation Disfranchised
Galway Borough County borough Galway[n 3] By 1560[3] Freemen One seat
Galway County County Galway By 1579 [10] Freeholders Two seats
Gorey (also Newburgh) Borough Wexford 1620 Corporation Disfranchised
Gowran Borough Kilkenny 1608 (15 September)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Granard Borough Longford 1679 Manor Disfranchised
Harristown Borough Kildare 1684 Corporation Disfranchised
Hillsborough Borough Down 1662 Corporation Disfranchised
Inistioge Borough Kilkenny By 1585[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Jamestown Borough Leitrim 1622 Corporation Disfranchised
Kells Borough Meath By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Kerry County Kerry 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Kilbeggan Borough Westmeath 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Kildare Borough Borough Kildare By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Kildare County County Kildare 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Kilkenny City County borough Kilkenny[n 3] 1299? Freeholders and Freemen One seat
Kilkenny County County Kilkenny 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Killybegs Borough Donegal 1616 Corporation Disfranchised
Killyleagh Borough Down 1613 (10 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Kilmallock Borough Limerick By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
King's County County King's County 1556 [11][12] Freeholders Two seats
Kinsale Borough Cork 1334? Corporation and Freemen One seat
Knocktopher Borough Kilkenny 1665 Potwalloper Disfranchised
Lanesborough Borough Longford 1642 Corporation Disfranchised
Leitrim County Leitrim 1583 Freeholders Two seats
Lifford Borough Donegal 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Limerick City County borough Limerick[n 3] 1299 Freeholders and Freemen One seat
Limerick County County Limerick 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Lisburn Borough Antrim 1661 Potwalloper One seat
Lismore Borough Waterford 1613 (6 May)[4] Manor Disfranchised
Londonderry City Borough Londonderry 1613 (29 March)[4][13] Corporation One seat
Londonderry County County Londonderry 1613 Freeholders Two seats
Longford Borough Borough Longford 1669 Corporation Disfranchised
Longford County County Longford 1571[14][15] Freeholders Two seats
Louth County Louth 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Mallow Borough Cork 1613 (27 February)[4] Manor One seat
Maryborough Borough Queen's County 1571 Corporation Disfranchised
Mayo County Mayo By 1579[10] Freeholders Two seats
Meath County Meath 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Midleton Borough Cork 1671 Corporation Disfranchised
Monaghan Borough Borough Monaghan 1613 (26 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Monaghan County County Monaghan 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Two seats
Mullingar Borough Westmeath By 1560[3] Manor Disfranchised
Naas Borough Kildare By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Navan Borough Meath 1469 Corporation Disfranchised
New Ross Borough Wexford By 1560[3] Corporation One seat
Newcastle Borough Dublin 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Newry Borough Down 1613 (27 February)[4] Potwalloper One seat
Newtown Limavady Borough Londonderry 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Newtownards Borough Down 1613 (25 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Old Leighlin Borough Carlow Between 1614 and 1692 Ecclesiastical corporation Disfranchised
Philipstown Borough King's County 1571 Corporation Disfranchised
Portarlington Borough Queen's County 1668 Corporation One seat
Queen's County County Queen's County 1556 [11][12] Freeholders Two seats
Randalstown Borough Antrim 1683 Freeman / Potwalloper Disfranchised
Rathcormack Borough Cork Between 1614 and 1692 Potwalloper / Manor Disfranchised
Ratoath Borough Meath Between 1614 and 1692 Manor Disfranchised
Roscommon Borough Borough Roscommon 1613 (27 February)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Roscommon County County Roscommon 1297 Freeholders Two seats
St Canice Borough Kilkenny[n 7] Between 1614 and 1692 Corporation Disfranchised
St Johnstown Borough Donegal 1618 Corporation Disfranchised
St Johnstown Borough Longford 1628 Corporation Disfranchised
Sligo Borough Borough Sligo 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation One seat
Sligo County County Sligo By 1579[10] Freeholders Two seats
Strabane Borough Tyrone 1613 (18 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Swords Borough Dublin By 1585[3] Potwalloper Disfranchised
Taghmon Borough Wexford bef. 1642 Corporation Disfranchised
Tallow Borough Waterford 1613 (1 May)[4] Manor / Potwalloper Disfranchised
Thomastown Borough Kilkenny 1541 Corporation Disfranchised
Tipperary County Tipperary 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Cross Tipperary County Tipperary by 1585 Freeholders Already disfranchised[n 8]
Tralee Borough Kerry 1613 (31 March)[4] Corporation One seat
Trim Borough Meath By 1560[3] Corporation Disfranchised
Tuam Borough Galway 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Tulsk Borough Roscommon 1663 Corporation Disfranchised
Tyrone County Tyrone 1585 (September)[5] Freeholders Two seats
Liberty of Ulster County Multiple[n 9] 1297 Already disfranchised[n 9]
Waterford City County borough Waterford[n 3] 1299 Freemen and freeholders One seat
Waterford County County Waterford 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Westmeath County Westmeath 1543[16] Freeholders Two seats
Wexford Borough Borough Wexford By 1560[3] Freemen One seat
Wexford County County Wexford 1297 Freeholders Two seats
Wicklow Borough Borough Wicklow 1613 (30 March)[4] Corporation Disfranchised
Wicklow County County Wicklow 1577[17][18] 1606[19] Freeholders Two seats
Youghal Borough Cork 1374 Corporation and Freemen One seat
Notes
  1. ^ The date of either: the earliest Parliament at which it is known to have received a writ of election or sent representatives; or else: the earliest charter or statute granting representation. Outside the Pale, places enfranchised after the Norman conquest often had long periods unrepresented prior to the Tudor reconquest.
  2. ^ The territory of Ards, one of the medieval sheriffdoms of the Earldom of Ulster, was included in the reconstituted County Down in 1570
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h A separate county corporate.
  4. ^ a b The medieval county of Connacht was subdivided in 1570 into the modern counties of Galway and Mayo.
  5. ^ The University was in the county of the city of Dublin. The electorate was its Fellows and Scholars.
  6. ^ The area of Ferns, corresponding to the northern part of County Wexford, was briefly made a separate shire between the 1570s before merging back into Wexford in the 1600s.
  7. ^ In the county of the city of Kilkenny rather than county Kilkenny
  8. ^ Cross Tipperary last returned MPs in 1634, and was definitively merged with Tipperary in 1716.
  9. ^ a b The medieval liberty of Ulster was subdivided in 1570 into the modern counties of Antrim and Down.
Henry Boyle, speaker between 1733 and 1756
John Ponsonby, speaker between 1756 and 1771
Edmund Perry, speaker between 1771 and 1785
John Foster, last speaker of the Irish House of Commons (1785–1800)

Means of resignation[edit]

Until 1793 members could not resign their seats. They could cease to be a member of the House only by one of four ways:

In 1793 a methodology for resignation was created, equivalent to the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds or the Manor of Northstead as a means of resignation from the British House of Commons. From that date, Irish members could be appointed to the Escheatorship of Munster, the Escheatorship of Leinster, the Escheatorship of Connaught or the Escheatorship of Ulster. Possession of one of these Crown offices, "office of profit under the Crown" with a 30-shilling salary, terminated one's membership of the House of Commons.

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Porritt, Edward (1963). The Unreformed House of Commons. Parliamentary Representation Before 1832. CUP Archive. pp. 185–7. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Fiants Ire. Eliz. No 1530
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Hardiman, James (1842). "Appendix III: The lordes spirituall and temporall, counties, cytties, and borough-townes, as are answerable to the Parlyament in this realme of Ireland ; and souche as weare sommoned unto the Parlyament holden before the right honorable Sir John Perrot, knyght, Lord Deputie Generall of the realme of Ireland, xxvi. die Aprilis, anno regni Regine nostre Elizabeth, vicesimo septimo. A. D. 1585.". A Statute of the fortieth Year of Edward III., enacted in a Parliament held in Kilkenny, A. D. 1367, before Lionel Duke of Clarence, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Now first printed from a MS.in the Library of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth. With a Translation and Notes. Tracts relating to Ireland. Vol.II. Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society. |volume= has extra text (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as Moody, T.W.; The Irish Parliament under Elizabeth and James I, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol 45 (1939) No 6, PP 72-76
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Moody, T.W.; Martin, F.X.; Byrne, F.J. (1991). Early Modern Ireland, 1534-1691. Oxford University Press. p. 166. ISBN 9780198202424.Inquisitionum in Officio Rotulorum Cancellariae Hiberniae Asservatarum Repertorium (Repertory of the Inquisitions of the Chancery of Ireland) Volume II, page xix 'An Order for the division, setting out and appoyntinge of the boundes, lymytts and circuits of sixe severall sheires or countyes within the pvince of Ulster within this realme of Ireland, viz. the countye of Tyron, the countye of Donnyngall, the countye of Fermanaghe, the countye of Colrane, the countye of Armaghe and the countye of Monohon ... the firste of September anno dei 1585, annoque d[omi]n[a]e Regin[a]e Elizabeth', 27mo'
  6. ^ "Turlough Lynagh (O'Neill)'s pretence to harm ... the new made county of Cavan" Proceedings and orders of the Chancellor, Council and Gentlemen of Meath and Dublin, August 21 1579, Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, Volume 2, 1574-1585 page 184
  7. ^ "O'Reilly's country erected into the County of Cavan" Lord Deputy Perrot to Walsyngham, 16 November 1584, Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, Volume 2, 1574-1585 page 537
  8. ^ Then called Dengenechoyshe
  9. ^ Moody, T.W.; Martin, F.X.; Byrne, F.J. (1984). A New History of Ireland, Vol IX, Maps, Genealogies, Lists. Oxford University Press. p. 108.
  10. ^ a b c "Orders to be observed by Sir Nicholas Malby, Knight, for the better government of the Province of Connaght" Printed in O'Flaherty's Chorographical Description of West Or H-Iar Connaught: Written A.D. 1684 ed. Hardiman, P. 304
  11. ^ a b An Act "whereby the King and Queen's Majesties, and the Heires and Successors of the Queen, be entituled to the Counties of Leix, Slewmarge, Irry, Glinmaliry, and Offaily, and for making the same Countries Shire Grounds." 3 & 4 Phil & Mar, c.2 (1556). The Act was repealed in 1962 Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ a b Falkiner, Caesar Litton (1904). Illustrations of Irish history and topography, mainly of the seventeenth century. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. pp. 118–9. ISBN 1-144-76601-X.
  13. ^ Previously incorporated as Derry, 11 July 1604
  14. ^ Maginn, Christopher (2012). William Cecil, Ireland, and the Tudor State. Oxford. p. 194.
  15. ^ "The Annaley, formerly governed by O’Farrale Bane and O’Farrale Boy, is erected into a shire called Longford." Lord Chancellor and Council to the Queen, March 23, 1571,Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, Volume 1, 1509-1573, page 440
  16. ^ Counties of Meath and Westmeath Act 1543 34 Henry VIII cap 1 (Ire) An Act for the division of Methe into two shires.”Falkiner, Caesar Litton (1904). Illustrations of Irish history and topography, mainly of the seventeenth century. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. p. 117. ISBN 1-144-76601-X.
  17. ^ Fiants Ire. Eliz. No 3003, 22 March 1577
  18. ^ The county of Wicklow created in 1577 seems not to have functioned and ceased to exist some time after 1586 - Moody, T.W.; Martin, F.X.; Byrne, F.J. (1984). A New History of Ireland, Vol IX, Maps, Genealogies, Lists. Oxford University Press. p. 108.
  19. ^ Moody, T.W.; Martin, F.X.; Byrne, F.J. (1991). Early Modern Ireland, 1534-1691. Oxford University Press. p. 166. ISBN 9780198202424.

Sources[edit]

  • Charles Ivar McGrath, The making of the 18th century Irish Constitution; Government, Parliament and the Revenue, 1692-1714, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000, ISBN 1-85182-554-1
  • Eoin Magennis, The Irish Political System 1740-1765, Doublin: Four Courts Press, 2000, ISBN 1-85182-484-7
  • Moody/Vaughan, A new history of Ireland, Oxford, 1986, ISBN 0-19-821742-0 and ISBN 0-19-821739-0
  • Mary Frances Cusack, Illustrated History of Ireland, Project Gutenberg
  • Return of the name of every member of the lower house of parliament of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with name of constituency represented, and date of return, from 1213 to 1874. C. 69-I. HMSO. 1878.
  • Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, ed. (2002). History of the Irish parliament, 1692–1800. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation.

External links[edit]