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Legislative reform

In 1832 the Reform Act increased Irish representation in the House of Commons by 5 Members, rather than the 20 demanded by Daniel O'Connell.

The 1830s were dominated by agrarian unrest, in response to which Parliament passed a stringent Coercion Act in 1833.

Non-payment campaign

Tithes, taxes collected by Anglican clergy even from non-Anglicans, also provoked an aggressive non-payment campaign beginning in 1830.

The 1832 Tithe Reform Act did little to quell the discontent, and nor did the 1833 Irish Church Temporalities Act, which rationalised the administration of the Church of Ireland.

A Bill for the double purpose of reforming tithes and using, or appropriating, ecclesiastical revenue for secular purposes, passed the Commons in the summer of 1835.


The Lords, however, separated the two issues, and dropped appropriation completely. A tithe reform bill only passed three years later, finally removing the issue as a popular grievance.

Meanwhile, the English system of Poor Law was extended to Ireland via an 1838 Act of Parliament. As in England, the Act divided Ireland into poor-law districts, each with its own workhouse.

Other reforms included an Act to reorganise municipal corporations – or local authorities – in Ireland. This replaced the existing 58 bodies with ten elected corporations.


Although their powers were more limited than in England, the Act allowed Daniel O'Connell to become Lord Mayor of Dublin, the first Catholic to hold the office since the reign of James II.

The Constabulary Act, passed in 1836, also established a national police force in Ireland, in which Catholics were encouraged to enlist, while in the summer of 1845 Parliament passed a Bill to create a federal Queen's University in Ireland.

Many of these measures however, were boycotted by the Catholic church.