Dáil Éireann (Irish Republic)

At all times the Republic's executive consisted of members of the Dáil and was theoretically answerable to it. The most important tasks of ministers were to command the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and, during 1921, to communicate and conduct negotiations with the British government. While notionally answerable to the cabinet, in practice individual IRA units enjoyed a high degree of autonomy.

After the election of the Third Dáil in 1922 the role of the Dáil changed substantially. Under the Anglo-Irish Treaty this body was intended to prepare the ground for the creation of an independent state called the Irish Free State. Powers were therefore progressively transferred to it from the British administration over a short period. The Third Dáil also had the role of acting as a "constituent assembly" to adopt the new Free State constitution.

The Irish Republic and its cabinet continued to exist right up until the Irish Free State came into force, though under British law the Third Dáil was charged with electing an executive called the "Provisional Government". For a time, until they were effectively merged, this Provisional Government and the old republican administration existed side by side, with significant overlaps in membership.

Today the First and Second Dála continue to have symbolic importance for the most radical Irish republicans. The general election of 1918 was the last occasion on which a single general election occurred across the whole island of Ireland and is seen by these republicans as granting a mandate for violent resistance to British rule in Northern Ireland that is unextinguished even to this day.