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Poynings, Sir Edward

Sir Edward Poynings, 1459–1521, English statesman. After taking part in an insurrection (1483) against Richard III, he fled to the Continent, where he joined the followers of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, who in 1485 ascended the English throne as Henry VII. Poynings served Henry on the Continent and was sent (1494) to Ireland as lord deputy. He put down the numerous supporters of the Yorkist party and set about subjugating Ireland. He summoned to Drogheda a Parliament that enacted statutes for the further anglicization of the Irish government. After his return (1496) to England, he had military and diplomatic posts and was warden of the Cinque Ports. Poyning's Law is the name given to the Drogheda statutes (1494) that provided that the English privy council must give previous assent to the summoning of an Irish Parliament and to the introduction of any specific legislation in the Irish Parliament, and that all laws passed in England should apply to Ireland. Its effect was to render a free Irish Parliament impossible. Henry Grattan procured its repeal in 1782.

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