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Dublin: 14°C Thursday 5 August 2021

Today marks 70 years since Ireland became a republic

This meant that Ireland left the Commonwealth, and formally ended the statutory role of the British monarchy in Ireland.

Image: President of Ireland

IT’S BEEN 70 years since Ireland officially became a republic.

After the divisive Anglo-Irish Treaty was adopted in 1922, what’s now known as ‘Ireland’ was a 26-county Irish Free State. Bunreacht na hÉireann, or the Irish constitution, was then ratified by the Irish people in 1937, which is remains as the fundamental law of the State, and can only be altered by referendums.

At midnight on 18 April 1949, Easter Monday, Ireland officially became a Republic and left the Commonwealth. At the time, a declaration of a republic ended Commonwealth membership, a rule that was changed afterwards.

“On this day in 1949, the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, signed into law by President Seán T Ó Ceallaigh on 21 December 1948, came into force, formally ending the statutory role of the British monarchy in Ireland,” the President of Ireland Twitter account said.

An article from the Irish Times from that day, which describes 21-gun salutes fired from O’Connell Bridge in Dublin, among other celebrations, can be read here.

Ireland became a member of the UN in 1955, and joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU, in 1973, the same year the United Kingdom joined. 

The UK government referred to the country as the “Republic of Ireland” until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, where it used its official, legal name “Ireland”. 

When asked on Newstalk Breakfast whether Ireland has been a successful republic, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said “yes, we have”.

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He said there were still challenges to be solved, including children living in hotels as their home, and the challenges in the health service.

“If we look at the overall span of history, we’ve gone from exporting our people to exporting our ideals and our values,” Donohoe said.

He said that Ireland should acknowledge that progress has been made, as well as facing the challenges that remain.

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