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Ireland Act

Ireland Act, 1949. Following the Irish Free State government's declaration of a republic in September 1948, the Act regulated relations with Ireland in clause 1(1)B, and gave guarantees that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would not be changed without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. That assurance has been reiterated at frequent intervals during the Ulster crisis since 1969 although rephrased as: no change without the consent of a majority of the electorate—in the Sunningdale agreement 1973, Anglo-Irish agreement 1985, and Downing Street declaration 1993. It has, however, never completely managed to reassure Unionist opinion, constantly fearful of a British sell-out. Opinion on all sides is now aware that there will probably be a catholic majority in the six counties early in the 21st cent.

Michael Hopkinson

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