Irish election, 1921

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The 1921 elections took place as a result of the Government of Ireland act passed by the British parliament the previous year. The Act allowed for Ireland to be partitioned into two political entitles, north and south, each with their own parliament to handle internal affairs. In Southern Ireland, which was soon to become the Irish Free State, the elections were uncontested. Every seat in every constituency (bar one) of the imminently independent state was retained by Sinn Féin, which had won almost unanimous support amongst the population of the south in the 1918 UK-wide general election. Those Sinn Féin MPs rejected the Government of Ireland Act and considered themselves elected to the second Dáil Éireann, which met in the Mansion House in Dublin.

The constituencies is what was to become Northern Ireland had a much different electoral experience. With a large Unionist majority in that region, the Ulster Unionist Party dominated the election, as they would continue to do for the next five decades. They won a total of 40 seats. The Nationalist Party, which had been borne out of the remains of the vanquished Home Rule Party, won a miniscule total of 6, which was equalled by Sinn Féin. Many of the Sinn Féin candidates for northern constituencies already held seats in Southern Ireland - Éamon de Valera, Michael Collins and Eoin MacNeill among them. Within Southern Ireland, the four Dublin University (now Trinity College) seats were won by independent unionists.

Sinn Féin extended an invitation to the Nationalist and Unionist MPs to join Dáil Éireann, but both parties refused. By the end of the year, the Dáil had ratified the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which granted Southern Ireland dominion status as the Irish Free State and ensured that Northern Ireland would remain in the UK with a government comprised of the Unionist majority won in this election.

Considering the dominance of the nationalist and unionist divide in this election, there was an absence of other parties in this election. The only exception was the Belfast Labour Party, itself unionist, which contested three Belfast constituencies but won no seats. An independent named  J. B. Wallace ran in Belfast North, but polled very poorly.