Parliament Set Free

Justin McCarthy
Chapter IX | Start of Chapter

The Irish Parliament as Grattan found it was very far from being a free Parliament. Not only could no Catholic be a member of either House, but no Catholic could even give a vote for the election of a member to the House of Commons. No Catholic was qualified to practise as a barrister, and there were many other religious disqualifications. Grattan set to work to remove all these so far as he could. The New Irish Parliament liberated the elective franchise from the restrictions imposed upon it, and made the Irish Catholic as free to vote as the Irish Protestant. The franchise was then so narrowed in its limitations for Protestants and Catholics alike that to men of our time it would seem a mere burlesque of Parliamentary representation.