His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State


His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State

"His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State" (HMGIFS) was the formal designation used by the Executive Council (cabinet) of the Irish Free State in formal correspondence it and the United Kingdom or other Commonwealth states. The Irish Free State, which was a constitutional monarchy, shared the same monarch as the United Kingdom, albeit from 1927 with a different title, "King of Ireland". Though in Commonwealth theory full equality between the Irish Free State and the United Kingdom was only achieved in the late 1920s or early 1930s (depending on whether equality is regarded as having been achieved after the 1926 Commonwealth Conference or via the "Statute of Westminster" in 1931) the Executive Council claimed equality from the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 through the usage of the HMGIFS designation. Using that designation allowed it to assert that it was equal to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and that its ministers were, like their British counterparts, Ministers of the Crown.

Though still legally in existence, the designation was rarely used during the Executive Councils of Éamon de Valera (1932-1937), as part of de Valera's process of Constitutional Autochthony to downplay symbols linking Ireland to the crown. Nevertheless, in 1936 the Minister for Finance under de Valera, Sean MacEntee, admitted in Dáil Éireann that he was still a "Minister of the Crown".

The term was abolished with the replacement of the Irish Free State by a new Irish state in 1937.


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