Ireland is a republic and like all republics they rely on a system of government that contains both elected and appointed officials in the hopes that the will of the people will be represented. It is after all a representative democracy. While Ireland has a president and a prime minister and is now an independent state, that was not always the case. Ireland once belonged to Britain and had little say in how they were governed. However, in addition to the problems inherent in colonial rule, there were and still are, religious conflicts as well.
Throughout the eighteenth century Irish Catholics were seen as a threat as they could indeed rally in support of a Stuart attempt to regain the English throne. The government created a severe code of penal legislation against Catholics and at the time Presbyterians suffered religious disabilities as well, but to a much lesser degree. The American War of Independence did influence Irish politics and it effectively encouraged the Irish Protestant ascendancy to push for a measure of colonial self-government. In 1782 the Irish parliament, which was subservient to London, was finally granted independence and Ireland was effectively a separate kingdom. The Irish Parliament would not last, at least not at its early stages. From 1801 onwards Ireland had no Parliament of its own as Irish MPs were required to sit in the Westminster parliament in London where they constituted a minority. Westminster was unwilling to grant major concessions to Irish Catholics but in 1823 a Catholic barrister, Daniel O'Connell, established the Catholic Association and fought for full liberty for Catholics. O'Connell's success forced the London parliament to grant Catholic Emancipation in 1829, which removed virtually all disabilities against Catholics.
O'Connell also sought repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 and finally the restoration of the Irish parliament. He set up a Repeal Association and continued a fight for emancipation. Independence...
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