Ireland becomes a Republic

Only in the spring of 1923 did the Northern Ireland Parliament and the Dáil in Dublin start to function normally.

The Westminster Parliament now governed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The British monarch, King George V, continued to be head of state in the Irish Free State as King in Ireland, but by 1936 most references to the King had been removed from Irish constitutional law.

Elected President

In 1937 a new Irish constitution established an elected president.

In 1948 the Taoiseach - the Irish prime minister - announced that Ireland was to be declared a republic.

The UK Parliament then passed the Ireland Bill which acknowledged the 1949 declaration that Ireland had “ceased to be part…of His Majesty’s dominions” and therefore a member of the Commonwealth.

The Ireland Bill also clarified the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, giving a statutory guarantee that it would remain part of the UK as long as its Parliament so desired.

This provision caused controversy in the Republic of Ireland as it gave Northern Ireland a status it had not previously enjoyed.