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(1920) Government of Ireland Act 1920: an Act to Provide for the Better Government of Ireland

Writing Peace: Treaties and Agreements


Also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill, this Act was passed amidst the Irish War of Independence. The Act repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1914 and granted Home Rule to Ireland by establishing two devolved parliaments, one seated in Dublin for Southern Ireland, and one seated in Belfast for Northern Ireland. It also provided for a Council of Ireland.

The Government of Ireland Act, 1920 commenced on 3 May 1921. The first Parliament of Northern Ireland formed in June 1921, but in Southern Ireland, where Dáil Members supported independence, only 4 of the 128 parliamentary members showed up to the opening session; the new legislature was suspended. The Act was superseded by the establishment of the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in December that year and which provided for an Irish Free State, today the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland operated under the amended terms of the act between 1921 and 1972. The final provisions of the act were repealed in Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, following the conclusion of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.

Published under Crown Copyright. Free to re-use under the Open Government Licence.

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