Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

The formulation and consequences of the Republic of Ireland Act, 1948-49.

McCabe, James Ian (1990) The formulation and consequences of the Republic of Ireland Act, 1948-49. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (12MB) | Preview


The thesis unravels the strands of the political and diplomatic pressures which led to Eire's departure from the British Commonwealth. As a background, the thesis reviews Anglo-Irish constitutional developments, from 1932 until 1948, with special reference to the introduction of the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act,1936. That statute sufficed as Eire's last tenuous constitutional link with the Commonwealth. The contentious issue of why the Taoiseach, John Costello made the announcement of his government's intention to repeal the External Relations Act, without a cabinet decision is examined. The answer is found by differentiating between the Statute and the prescribed permissory procedures embodied therein. Following chapters show how discussions among Commonwealth representatives, at Chequers and Paris, arrived at an agreement, whereby the Republic of Ireland, in an intermediary position between that of a foreign state and Commonwealth member, retained Most Favoured Nation Status for its trade and citizens. Two following chapters on NATO and on Partition ignore the above semantic analysis of Anglo-Irish relations and deal with the practical problems. The thesis argues that the UK 'Ireland Act',1949, introduced ostensibly to recognise Eire's new status vis-a-vis the Commonwealth, incorporated a guarantee to the Unionists that Partition would not end without their consent (as opposed to with): That this "guarantee" was not divorced from the strategic interests of the British Chiefs of Staffs, who wanted to maintain the reliable bases in Northern Ireland. The Irish government's response to the British government's, Ireland Act, 1949 was rhetorical rather than practical. Protests turned to internecine political recriminations, and faded when it became obvious that continued criticism of Britain would encourage the unleashing of unconstitutional and uncontrollable elements.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics