29 May-Irish Free State Senate

The Oireachtas (the Irish legislature) is comprised of the President of Ireland, Seanad Éireann (Senate of Ireland) and Dáil Éireann (the lower house). The sixty Members of the Senate are not directly elected. The Senate cannot veto laws, it can only delay them. It is located in Leinster House. A proposal to abolish the Senate was defeated in referendum by a narrow margin in October 2013.

The earliest known Irish Parliament met at Castledermot, Co Kildare about 10km north of Carlow town, on June 18th 1264. The Irish parliament was in existence in various forms until it was abolished under the Act of Union of 1800. At that time the Irish Parliament consisted of an Upper and a Lower House, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Lords consisted of hereditary nobles. The Act of Union, which came into effect on January 1st 1801 formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the Parliament of the United Kingdom in London.

There was strong opposition in Ireland to the Act of Union during the nineteenth century. The opposition frequently led to insurrection and there were several attempts made to repeal the Act. Legislation providing for Home Rule in Ireland was finally passed in 1914. Following the election of 1918, Irish nationalists established a parliament in Dublin which was called Dáil Éireann. In 1920 the Parliament of Southern Ireland was created by the British Government. The Parliament consisted of the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and the Senate of Southern Ireland. It was boycotted by nationalists and was formally abolished under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922.

The Constitution of the Irish Free State provided for the establishment of a bicameral parliament, consisting of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann. Members of Dáil Éireann were elected by proportional representation on the basis of universal suffrage. Members of Seanad Éireann consisted of people appointed by the President of the Executive Council and those indirectly elected by the Dáil. The first Seanad was described by the New York Times as being ‘representative of all classes’. The Free State Senate existed until 1936. It was abolished by the Fianna Fáil government led by Éamon de Valera in that year after it delayed some Government proposals for constitutional changes. It was replaced by the modern Seanad Éireann in 1937.

The Irish Free State Senate was abolished in the year 1936 On This Day.

Leinster House by Sean MacEntee on 2013-11-15 16:41:06

Committee on Procedures & Privileges from Seanad Eireann by niassembly on 2012-01-24 15:33:49


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