1922 Irish general election

The 1922 Irish general election took place in Southern Ireland on 16 June 1922, under the provisions of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty to elect a constituent assembly paving the way for the formal establishment of the Irish Free State. In Irish political history, this served as the election to the Third Dáil; under the provisions of the treaty it was a provisional parliament replacing the parliament of Southern Ireland. From 6 December 1922, it was the Dáil Éireann of the Irish Free State.

The election was under the electoral system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.[1]

1922 Irish general election

16 June 1922

All 128 seats in Dáil Éireann
65 seats needed for a majority
  Michael Collins 1921 Eamon de Valera c 1922-30
Leader Michael Collins Éamon de Valera
Party Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty) Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty)
Leader since 1922 1917
Leader's seat Cork Mid, etc. Clare
Seats won 58 36
Popular vote 239,195 135,310
Percentage 38.5% 21.8%

  Tomjohnson Blank
Leader Thomas Johnson Denis Gorey
Party Labour Party Farmers' Party
Leader since 1922 1922
Leader's seat Dublin County Carlow–Kilkenny
Seats won 17 7
Popular vote 132,565 48,718
Percentage 21.3% 7.8%

Irish general election 1922
Percentage of seats gained by each of the three major parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Chairman of the Provisional
Government before election

Michael Collins
Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)

Subsequent Chairman of the
Provisional Government

Michael Collins
Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)


In the 1921 elections, Sinn Féin had won all seats in uncontested elections, except for the four in the University of Dublin. On this occasion, however, most seats were contested. The treaty had divided the party between 65 pro-treaty candidates, 57 anti-treaty and 1 nominally on both sides. To minimise losses due to competition from other parties, Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins worked out a pact approved on 20 May 1922.[2] They agreed that the pro-treaty and anti-treaty factions would fight the general election jointly and form a coalition government afterwards. The sitting member would not be opposed by the other faction. This pact prevented voters giving their opinions on the treaty itself, especially in uncontested seats. However, the draft Constitution of the Irish Free State was then published on 15 June, and so the anti-treaty Sinn Féin group's 36 seats out of 128 seemed to many to be a democratic endorsement of the pro-treaty Sinn Féin's arrangements. Others argued that insufficient time was available to understand the draft constitution, but the main arguments and debates had already been made public during and after the Dáil Treaty Debates that had ended on 10 January 1922, nearly six months before.

Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, opposed the Pact as undemocratic, and made a long statement on 31 May.[3] He was responsible at the time for steering the transitional arrangements between the Provisional Government and the government of the United Kingdom in the period between the ratification of the Treaty and the creation of the Irish Free State.

Despite the Pact, the election results started the effective division of Sinn Féin into separate parties. The anti-Treaty TDs then boycotted the new Dáil, even though they had requested, negotiated and approved the terms of the Pact. This boycott gave uncontested control to the pro-treaty members of Sinn Féin, and so enabled W. T. Cosgrave to establish the Second Irish Provisional Government which became the First Executive Council of the Irish Free State on 6 December 1922.


3rd Irish general election – 16 June 1922[4][5][6]
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First Pref
% FPv ±%
Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty) Michael Collins 58 N/A 45.3 239,195 38.5 N/A
Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty) Éamon de Valera 36 N/A 28.1 135,310 21.8 N/A
Labour Party Thomas Johnson 17 New 13.3 132,565 21.3 New
Farmers' Party Denis Gorey 7 New 5.5 48,718 7.8 New
Businessmen's Party 1 New 0.8 14,542 2.3 New
Ratepayers' Association 0 New 0 2,617 0.4 New
Independent N/A 9 N/A 7.0 48,638 7.8 N/A
Spoilt votes 19,684
Total 128 100 641,271 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,430,104 62.5%

Many seats were won unopposed; 17 by the Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin, 16 by the Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin and 4 by independents.

Voting summary

First preference vote
Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)
Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty)
Ratepayers Association

Seats summary

Assembly seats
Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)
Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty)

Votes cast

Out of a valid poll of 621,587 votes, the pro-Treaty faction of Sinn Féin won 239,195 votes and the anti-Treaty faction won 135,310 votes. The other parties and independents (see above) all supported the Treaty and secured a further 247,080 votes.[7]

The vote was seen as significant in several ways:

  • The pro-Treaty parties had secured support from over 75% of the electorate on the eve of the Irish Civil War.
  • The non-Sinn Féin parties had support from over 40% of the electorate.

Further, the anti-Treaty candidates had taken part in an election in line with Article 11 of the Treaty, even though they had argued that it was flawed , being partitionist. Their pro-Treaty opponents argued that this revealed that their anti-Treaty stance was opportunist, and not principled. Article 11 of the Treaty had limited such an election to the constituencies of the formative Free State, and specifically excluded constituencies in Northern Ireland, yet the anti-Treaty argument was that the Dáil represented the whole island of Ireland.

In that the anti-Treaty forces wanted to establish an all-Ireland republic, this election result when considered with the 1921 result in Northern Ireland shows that the anti-Treaty party had an enormous uphill struggle to achieve their constitutional aim.

Within 12 days, on 28 June 1922, as a result of the tensions between pro and anti-Treatyites, the Irish Civil War broke out, when the Provisional Government's troops began a bombardment of the Anti-Treaty IRA occupation of the Four Courts, Dublin.

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p990 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Dáil Éireann debate - Saturday, 20 May 1922: NATIONAL COALITION PANEL JOINT STATEMENT.
  3. ^ Hansard 31 May 1922 – Churchill's statement
  4. ^ "3rd Dáil 1922 General Election". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  6. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1009 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  7. ^ Younger, Calton "Ireland's Civil War" Muller, London 1968; p.304.
Constance Markievicz

Constance Georgine Markievicz, known as Countess Markievicz (Polish: Markiewicz [marˈkʲɛvit͡ʂ]; née Gore-Booth; 4 February 1868 – 15 July 1927), was an Irish politician, revolutionary, nationalist, suffragist and socialist who served as Minister for Labour from 1919 to 1922. She served as a Teachta Dála for the Dublin South constituency from 1921 to 1922 and 1923 to 1927. She was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Dublin St Patrick's from 1918 to 1922.

A founder member of Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army, she took part in the Easter Rising in 1916, when Irish republicans attempted to end British rule and establish an Irish Republic. She was sentenced to death but this was reduced on the grounds of her sex. On 28 December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the UK House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position as Minister for Labour from 1919 to 1922.

Cumann na Poblachta

Cumann na Poblachta (Irish pronunciation: [kˠumˠən̪ˠ n̪ˠə pˠɔbˠɫəxt̪ˠə]; League of the Republic in English) was an Irish republican political party.

The party was founded on 15 March 1922 by Éamon de Valera. It opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and was composed of the anti-Treaty wing of Sinn Féin. The party did contest the 1922 Irish general election but, in accordance with the Collins/De Valera Pact, under the Sinn Féin banner like their opponents.

The party commonly appended the title The Republican Party to its name. This subtitle was later adopted by the Fianna Fáil party at its foundation in 1926.

Its headquarters was at 23 Suffolk street. The party's offices served as a meeting place for the Anti-treaty IRA.In 1923, after the pro-Treaty wing of Sinn Féin renamed itself as Cumann na nGaedheal, Cumann na Poblachta continued to use the Sinn Féin name.

December 1910 United Kingdom general election in Ireland

The Irish component of the December 1910 United Kingdom general election took place between 3 and 19 December, concurrently with the polls in Great Britain. Though the national result was a deadlock between the Conservatives and the Liberals, the result in Ireland was, as was the trend by now, a large victory for the Irish Parliamentary Party. The IPP supported the Liberals to form a government after the election. This was to be the party's last victory, however. Due to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the next general election would not be held until 1918, by which time events both in Ireland and Britain and outside would conspire to see the rise of a new nationalist party, Sinn Féin, and the subsequent demise of the IPP.

It was the government formed by this election which brought in the final Home Rule Bill in 1912, enacted as the Government of Ireland Act 1914. The outbreak of the war led to its delay and eventual abandonment in response to the rise of Sinn Féin.

Dáil election results

This is a summary of the results of general elections to Dáil Éireann, the house of representatives of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament, from 1918 to the present. With the exception of 1918, they were held using the electoral system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

Éamon de Valera

Éamon de Valera (; Irish pronunciation: [ˈeːmˠən̻ˠ dʲɛ ˈvˠalʲəɾʲə]; first registered as George de Valero; changed some time before 1901 to Edward de Valera; 14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was a prominent statesman and political leader in 20th-century Ireland. His political career spanned over half a century, from 1917 to 1973; he served several terms as head of government and head of state. He also led the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland.Prior to de Valera's political career, he was a Commandant at Boland's Mill during the 1916 Easter Rising, an Irish revolution that would eventually contribute to Irish independence. He was arrested, sentenced to death but released for a variety of reasons, including the public response to the British execution of Rising leaders. He returned to Ireland after being jailed in England and became one of the leading political figures of the War of Independence. After the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, de Valera served as the political leader of Anti-Treaty Sinn Fein until 1926, when he, along with many supporters, left the party to set up Fianna Fáil, a new political party which abandoned the policy of abstentionism from Dáil Éireann.

From there, de Valera would go on to be at the forefront of Irish politics until the turn of the 1960s. He took over as President of the Executive Council from W. T. Cosgrave and later Taoiseach, with the passing of Bunreacht Na hEireann (Irish constitution) in 1937. He would serve as Taoiseach on 3 occasions; from 1937 to 1948, from 1951 to 1954 and finally from 1957 to 1959. He remains the longest serving Taoiseach by total days served in the post. He resigned in 1959 upon his election as President of Ireland. By then, he had been Leader of Fianna Fáil for 33 years, and he, along with older founding members, began to take a less prominent role relative to newer ministers such as Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney. He would serve as President from 1959 to 1973, two full terms in office.

De Valera's political beliefs evolved from militant Irish republicanism to strong social, cultural and economic conservatism. He has been characterised by a stern, unbending, devious demeanor. His roles in the Civil War have also portrayed him as a divisive figure in Irish history. Biographer Tim Pat Coogan sees his time in power as being characterised by economic and cultural stagnation, while Diarmaid Ferriter argues that the stereotype of de Valera as an austere, cold and even backward figure was largely manufactured in the 1960s and is misguided.

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See also

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