Republic of Ireland Act, 1948: Bishop Collier’s Statement
In 1948 the Irish government passed (with the support of all the main political parties) the Republic of Ireland Act, which formally declared the Irish state to be a republic. The Act came into effect on Easter Monday, 1949 (the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of the Easter Rising). The Irish state and local authorities organized celebrations throughout the country, while Irish bishops urged their churches to mark the occasion. For example, Dr. Patrick Collier, Bishop of Ossory, presided over a High Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, followed by Benediction, on Easter Monday at 11 a.m. The general public and all public authorities in the diocese were invited to attend. He had earlier issued this statement on 7th April, 1949:
On Easter Monday the Republic of Ireland Act will come into operation. This puts the Legal Crown on the patriotic lawful aspirations and strivings of centuries of national effort directed and led by devoted Irishmen and Irish women of many generations.
It is right and fitting that such a great occasion in our national history should be honoured in our churches.