1920 and After

  • Ian Budge
  • Cornelius O’Leary


On 11 March 1919 the British Government, through its law officers for Ireland, formally introduced in the Commons a bill entitled the Local Government (Ireland) Bill. Its proximate cause was the fact that the suspensory Acts of 1916, 1917 and 1918, prolonging the lives of the existing local authorities, were shortly due to expire. The local authorities were either four or five years old and were in grave need of renewal.1 To hold fresh elections under the existing system would not, of course, require new legislation, but as the Attorney-General for Ireland2 indicated in his speech opening the second reading debate, the Government was taking advantage of this opportunity to introduce proportional representation as the mode of election for Irish local authorities ‘in view of the dissatisfaction which largely prevails in the country’.3


Local Election Labour Party Home Affair Housing Scheme Municipal Election 


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  1. 6.
    See C. O’Leary, The Irish Republic and Its Experiment with Proportional Representation (Notre Dame, 1961), Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  2. 24.
    The ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Specials of whom only the second survived. See the Cameron Report (Cmd. 532) Appendix V, and L. de Paor, Divided Ulster, (London, 1970), pp. 107–10.Google Scholar
  3. 32.
    The highly complex story of the dealings between the British and Northern Ireland Governments on the issue of parity of social services is excellently recounted in R. J. Lawrence, The Government of Northern Ireland (Oxford, 1965), especially Chapters 3 and 4.Google Scholar
  4. 67.
    The story is succinctly told in R. J. Lawrence, The Government of Northern Ireland, pp. 109–17. See also R. H. Semple in Belfast in Its Regional Setting (Belfast, 1952), pp. 179–84.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ian Budge and Cornelius O’Leary 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Budge
    • 1
  • Cornelius O’Leary
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GovernmentUniversity of EssexUK
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceThe Queen’s University of BelfastUK

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