Irish Reform Act 1832

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Representation of the People (Ireland) Act 1832
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Long title An Act to amend the representation of the people in Ireland
Citation 2 & 3 Will. 4. c. 88
Territorial extentIreland
Other legislation
Repealed by Electoral Act 1963
Relates to Parliamentary Boundaries (Ireland) Act 1832, Reform Act 1832, Scottish Reform Act 1832
Status: Repealed

The Representation of the People (Ireland) Act, 1832, commonly called the Irish Reform Act 1832, was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the election laws of Ireland. The act was passed at approximately the same time as the Reform Act 1832, which applied to England and Wales. The chief architects of the act were Francis Jeffrey and Henry Cockburn.

Reform Act 1832 UK parliament act of 1832

The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. According to its preamble, the Act was designed to "take effectual Measures for correcting divers Abuses that have long prevailed in the Choice of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament". Before the reform, most members nominally represented boroughs. The number of electors in a borough varied widely, from a dozen or so up to 12,000. Frequently the selection of MPs was effectively controlled by one powerful patron: for example Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled eleven boroughs. Criteria for qualification for the franchise varied greatly among boroughs, from the requirement to own land, to merely living in a house with a hearth sufficient to boil a pot.

England and Wales Administrative jurisdiction within the United Kingdom

England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom. ’England and Wales’ forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.

Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey British politician

Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey was a Scottish judge and literary critic.

From 1 January 1801, Ireland had been represented in the House of Commons by 100 members. Each of the thirty-two counties returned two MPs as did the Boroughs of Dublin City, County Dublin and Cork City, County Cork. Thirty-one other Boroughs and Dublin University sent one MP to Westminster.

Dublin City was an Irish Borough constituency in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It comprised the city of Dublin in the county of Dublin, and was represented by two Members of Parliament from its creation in 1801 until 1885.

Cork City was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From 1880 to 1922 it returned two members of parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. From 1922 it was not represented in the UK Parliament, as it was no longer in the UK.

The 1832 legislation slightly changed some boundaries of Borough constituencies. More significantly it conferred a second seat on the Boroughs of Belfast, County Antrim; Galway Borough, County Galway; Limerick City, County Limerick and Waterford, County Waterford as well as Dublin University. The total number of seats in Ireland was therefore increased to 105.

Belfast was an Irish Borough constituency in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Comprising the city of Belfast, it elected one Member of Parliament (MP) from 1801 to 1832, and then two MPs from 1832 until the constituency was divided for the 1885 general election.

Galway Borough was a United Kingdom Parliament constituency, in Ireland. It returned one MP 1801–1832, two MPs 1832–1885 and one thereafter. It was an original constituency represented in Parliament when the Union of Great Britain and Ireland took effect on 1 January 1801.

Limerick City was a United Kingdom Parliament constituency, in Ireland. It returned one MP 1801–1832, two MPs 1832–1885 and one thereafter. It was an original constituency represented in Parliament when the Union of Great Britain and Ireland took effect on 1 January 1801. It ceased to be represented in the United Kingdom Parliament in 1922.

From 1801–29 the possession of freehold land worth at least 40 shillings (£2) conferred a county vote, as in England and Wales in this period. Catholics, who had been permitted to qualify as Irish voters only since 1793, were excluded from serving in Parliament until 1829. When further Catholic emancipation in 1829 allowed Roman Catholics to sit in Parliament, a more restrictive county franchise was introduced simultaneously, requiring possession of freehold land worth at least £10 (a fivefold increase from the previous 40 shillings), as the qualification for a county vote.

Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and later the combined United Kingdom in the late 18th century and early 19th century, that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws. Requirements to abjure (renounce) the temporal and spiritual authority of the pope and transubstantiation placed major burdens on Roman Catholics.

In English law, a fee simple or fee simple absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is a way that real estate and land may be owned in common law countries, and is the highest possible ownership interest that can be held in real property. Allodial title is reserved to governments under a civil law structure. The rights of the fee simple owner are limited by government powers of taxation, compulsory purchase, police power, and escheat, and it could also be limited further by certain encumbrances or conditions in the deed, such as, for example, a condition that required the land to be used as a public park, with a reversion interest in the grantor if the condition fails; this is a fee simple conditional.

£sd pre-decimal currency system of the pound, shilling, and penny

£sd is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, which was one of the last to abandon the system, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence.

The 1832 legislation left the Irish county electorate much the same, but some new qualifications added to the electorate. From 1832 the qualifications were £10 freeholders, leaseholders for lives and copyholders of estates of £10, leaseholders for at least 60 years and the assignees of the same or leaseholders for at least 14 years of £20 estates.

Before 1832 each Borough constituency had its own qualification for voting. In some, only the members of the corporation (the Borough Council) had the vote. In others a wider group of freemen and 40 shilling freeholders could vote.

The number of Borough voters before the Reform Acts varied considerably. A by-election took place in Bandon, County Cork. On 22 July 1831, the by-election was decided by only 11 voters (divided 5, 4 and 2 amongst three candidates). A by-election was held for the two seats of Dublin City, County Dublin, on 18 August 1832. It involved 4,550 votes (each voter could cast one or two votes as they pleased). This last vote was the final pre-reformed Parliamentary election in Ireland.

Bandon was a Parliamentary constituency covering the town of Bandon in County Cork, Ireland. From 1801 to 1885 it elected one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1832 the Irish Boroughs were given a more uniform franchise. In addition to those who qualified under the previous rules, all occupiers of property worth at least £10 and resident freemen by birth or servitude became electors. The freemen were members of trade guilds, either because they had inherited membership or because they had served an apprenticeship to become members.

The franchise for the University had been held by the provost, fellows and scholars of Trinity College, Dublin. From 1832, all University of Dublin graduates holding MA degrees could vote.

University of Dublin University in Dublin, Ireland, founded 1592

The University of Dublin, corporately designated the Chancellor, Doctors and Masters of the University of Dublin, is a university located in Dublin, Ireland. It is the degree awarding body for Trinity College Dublin. It was founded in 1592 when Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter for Trinity College as "the mother of a university", thereby making it Ireland's oldest operating university. It was modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and of Cambridge, but unlike these other ancient universities, only one college was established; as such, the designations "Trinity College" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes.

The introduction of electoral registration in Ireland in 1832 confirms that there continued to be considerable differences in electorates after the Reform legislation. The range in number of registered voters was as follows.

County constituencies (2 seats each):

Borough constituencies:

Passed the same day as the Irish Reform Act was the Parliamentary Boundaries (Ireland) Act, 1832 (2 & 3 Will 4 c.89, long title "An Act to settle and describe the Limits of Cities Towns and Boroughs in Ireland in so far as respects the Election of Members to serve in Parliament") which specified the limits of the remaining borough constituencies.

See also

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