1871 – Gladstone’s Irish Church Act which disestablishes the Church of Ireland takes effect.

The Irish Church Disestablishment Act 1869 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed during William Gladstone’s administration. The Act disestablished the established church in Ireland, disassociating it from the state and repealing the law that required tithes to be paid to the it, a body that commanded the adherence of a small minority of the population of Ireland. It also ceased to send representatives to the House of Lords. The passage of the Bill through Parliament caused acrimony between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with Queen Victoria intervening personally to mediate. The Act came into force on 1 Jan 1871 when the now disestablished church in Ireland became known as the Church of Ireland.

Photo: PM William Gladstone and Irish Home Rule – Punch Magazine 1877. Gladstone as a leprechaun serenading the Irish maiden. He is sipping Irish whisky and the Irish cailín is peeling (what else but) potatoes, while the pig looks on. Gladstone was an ardent advocate for Irish Home Rule.



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