Irish Free State

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The Irish Free State (Irish: Saorstát Éireann) (1922–1937) was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand.[1] On the day the Irish Free State was established, it comprised the entire island of Ireland, but Northern Ireland almost immediately exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new state. The Irish Free State effectively replaced the self-proclaimed Irish Republic (itself established on 21 January 1919). Similarly, the new government of the Irish Free State replaced both the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland and the Government of the Irish Republic although W. T. Cosgrave, the first President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State had, in any event, led both governments since August 1922.

The Irish Free State came to an end in 1937, when the citizens voted by referendum to replace the 1922 constitution. It was succeeded by the entirely sovereign modern state of Ireland.


Northern Ireland "opts out"

For about two days from 6 December 1922 Northern Ireland became part of the newly created Irish Free State.[2] This constitutional episode arose because of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the legislation introduced to give that Treaty legal effect.[3]

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