After decades of using the British "First Past the Post" electoral system, Ireland switched to Proportional Representation for the 1921 elections which preceded the partioning of the island between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. They existed in this form until 1923, though partition removed the Fermanagh & Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Armagh and the Belfast constituencies.
Some of these constituencies, such as Fermanagh & Tyrone and Cork Mid, North, South, South-East and West (Michael Collins' constituency) held as much as 8 seats, an amazingly high number by today's standards. Universities also enjoyed their own representation in this election, with Queen's University Belfast and Dublin University (Trinity College) each enjoying 4 seats in the hypothetical parliament. The National University of Ireland also had four seats.
The Sinn Féin TDs elected (most of them unopposed) in the 1921 election considered the seats to be for the Second Dáil Éireann. Nationalist Party candidates and Unionist candidates did not recognise the Dáil, and sat instead in Stormont House in Belfast, where the Northern Ireland parliament was soon to be convened.
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In 1922, Sinn Féin split over the Anglo-Irish treaty, and voters went to the polls to decide between the two groups. The Irish Labour Party and Farmers' Party also contested this election, which was followed by the Civil War and another general election a year later, with redrawn constituencies.