Tuesday, October 23, 2007

National University of Ireland (NUI for short) is a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, through which graduates of the National University of Ireland have elected members of various legislative bodies including currently Seanad Éireann.

National University of Ireland (constituency) Summary

NUI was enfranchised as a new university constituency on 1918 and continued to be entitled to be represented by one Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons until the dissolution of Parliament on 26 October 1922, shortly before the Irish Free State became a dominion outside the United Kingdom on 6 December 1922. The 1918 UK general election took place on 14 December and the results were declared on 28 December, except for the university constituencies. NUI voted between 18 December-22 December and the result was declared on 23 December. Eoin MacNeill was elected (and also for Londonderry City) standing for Sinn Féin and therefore did not take his seat.

House of Commons of Southern Ireland
In the UK general election, 1918, Sinn Féin contested the election on the basis that they would not take seats in the United Kingdom Parliament but would establish a revolutionary assembly in Dublin.
The University was, in Irish republican theory, entitled to return one Teachta Dála (known in English as a Deputy) in 1918 to serve in the Irish Republic's First Dáil. This revolutionary body assembled on 21 January 1919.
In republican theory every MP elected in Ireland was a member of the First Dáil. In practice only Sinn Féin members participated, including the Deputy for the University.
The First Dáil, passed a motion at its last meeting on 10 May 1921, the first three parts of which make explicit the republican view.
The Second Dáil first met on 16 August 1921, thereby dissolving the First Dáil.
Sinn Féin had decided to use the polls for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as an election for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. No actual voting was necessary in Southern Ireland as all the seats were filled by unopposed returns. Except for Dublin University all constituencies outside Northern Ireland elected Sinn Féin TDs.
The National University of Ireland constituency elected four Sinn Féin members unopposed, who participated in the Dáil.
The Third Dáil elected in 1922 was, in United Kingdom law, initially the constituent assembly for the Irish Free State and then the lower house. From this time the Dáil represented only twenty-six Irish counties and did not claim to represent the six counties of Northern Ireland. Non-Sinn Féin Deputies began to stand for and participate in the Dáil.
In the Electoral Act 1923 (No. 12/1923), the Irish Free State defined its own Dáil constituencies. National University of Ireland was reduced to three seats.
The Constitution (Amendment No. 23) Act 1936 (No. 17/1936) repealed the Irish Free State constitutional provision for University representation in Dáil Éireann, with effect from the next dissolution of the Oireachtas which took place on 14 June 1937.

That the Parliamentary elections which are to take place during the present month be regarded as elections to Dáil Éireann.
That all deputies duly returned at these elections be regarded as members of Dáil Éireann and allowed to take their seats on subscribing to the proposed Oath of Allegiance.
That the present Dáil dissolve automatically as soon as the new body has been summoned by the President and called to order. Dáil Éireann
When Ireland adopted a new constitution, in 1937, this provided for the universities to be represented in a re-established Seanad Éireann (the Free State Seanad having been abolished in 1936).
The Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act 1937 (No. 30/1937) gave effect to the new constitutional provision. The election to the Seanad took place in 1938. The 2nd Seanad first met on 27 April 1938.
NUI sends three members to the Seanad.
Proposals to reform the Seanad may lead to the end of university representation or to its modification (in accordance with a 1979 amendment to the Constutution) to permit the graduates of tertiary educational establishments other than the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland to participate in university Seanad elections. No decision has yet been made (as at 2006).
As an example of the abolitionist view see the submission of the Green Party (Ireland) on Seanad reform, in 2004.

Seanad Éireann
The National University of Ireland (NUI) is a federal university system of constituent universities (previously university colleges), and recognised colleges set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908, and amended by the Universities Act, 1997.
As part of the redistribution of Parliamentary seats in 1918 NUI was enfranchised as a new non-territorial Parliamentary constituency.

In 1918 the electorate included all registered male graduates over 21 (or over 19 if in armed services) and female graduates over 30. There were 3,819 voters registered for the 1918 general election. Most, if not all, of those electors would have been plural voters also entitled to vote in a territorial constituency.
In the Electoral Act 1923 (No. 12/1923), the Irish Free State abolished plural voting for University constituencies and enfranchised women on the same terms as men. Qualified voters could then decide whether to register for a University or a territorial constituency but not for both.
The qualifications for an elector to be registered as a University voter were set out in Section 1(2)(c) of the 1923 Act. They were to be registered at "the University constituency comprising a university in which he or she has received a degree other than an honorary degree or, in the case of the University of Dublin, has received such degree as aforesaid, or obtained a foundation scholarship, or, if a woman, obtained a non-foundation scholarship".

Sinn Féin defeated the Irish Parliamentary Party by a two to one margin in 1918. They lost one of their four seats in the 1922 elections. Until around the 1950s elections were largely partisan, but since then independents have tended to predominate.

Politics of the constituency
In 1918 the National University of Ireland was a single member, non-territorial University constituency which was (in theory) represented as a Parliament of the United Kingdom constituency 1918-1922. In 1918 the constituency used the first past the post system.
From 1921 parliamentary representatives of the University were elected using the single transferable vote method of proportional representation.

Electoral System

Deputies 1918-1937 and Senators from 1938

The United Kingdom general election, 1918 took place on 14 December and the results were declared on 28 December, except for the university constituencies. NUI voted between 18 December-22 December and the result was declared on 23 December.

UK House of Commons and Dáil Éireann

House of Commons of Southern Ireland and Dáil Éireann

1923 (27 August) general election (3 seats)
Professor Eoin MacNeill (CG) 418 (elected)
Professor Michael Hayes (CG) 343 (elected)
Professor William Magennis (CG) 304 (elected)
Professor William F.P. Stockley (Rep) ?
Professor Hugh Ryan (Rep) ?
Miss Agnes Farrelly (Ind) ?
MacNeill chooses to sit for Clare
1923 (2 November) by-election (1 seat)
1,567 electors; 1,110 voted; turnout 70.84%; quota 556
Patrick McGilligan (Ind) 849 (76.49%) (elected)
Professor William F.P. Stockley (Rep) 261 (23.51%)
1927 (9 June) general election (3 seats)
Arthur Edward Clery (Rep) ? (elected)
Professor Michael Hayes (CG): Unopposed as Ceann Comhairle
Patrick McGilligan (CG) ? (elected)
Professor William Magennis (CE) ?
Miss Agnes Farrelly (Ind) ?
1927 (15 September) general election (3 seats)
Professor Michael Hayes (CG): Unopposed as Ceann Comhairle
Patrick McGilligan (CG) ? (elected)
Professor Michael Tierney (CG) ? (elected)
 ? (FF) ?
1932 (16 February) general election (3 seats)
Only count 3,143 voted; quota (2 elected seats) 1,048
Professor Michael Hayes (CG): Unopposed as Ceann Comhairle
Conor Alexander Maguire (FF) 1,396 (44.42%) (elected)
Patrick McGilligan (CG) 1,321 (42.03%) (elected)
Professor Michael Tierney (CG) 426 (13.55%)
1933 (24 January) general election (3 seats)
First count 3,770 voted; quota 943
Conor Alexander Maguire (FF) 1,306 (34.64%) (elected)
Patrick McGilligan (CG) 1,028 (27.27%) (elected)
Mrs Helena Concannon (FF) 773 (20.50%) (elected - 2nd count)
Professor Michael Hayes (CG) 663 (17.59%)
1936 (November)
Seat vacant on appointment of Maguire as a Justice of the Irish High Court Seanad Éireann

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