Queen's University of Belfast (Dáil Éireann constituency)

Coordinates: 54°34′59″N 5°56′02″W / 54.583°N 5.934°W / 54.583; -5.934 Queen's University of Belfast (QUB), was a former potential Dáil Éireann parliamentary constituency. It was a Dáil constituency 1919-1922.


Queen's University of Belfast was a former United Kingdom Parliament constituency. It was represented by one member from 1918 until 1950. The University sent four MPs to the Northern Ireland House of Commons 1921-1969.

The University was, in Irish republican theory, entitled to return one Teachta Dála (known in English as a Deputy) in 1918 to serve in the Irish Republic's First Dáil. Sinn Féin used the UK general election in 1918 to elect the Dáil. The revolutionary body assembled on 21 January 1919. The list of members read out on that day included everyone elected in Ireland. Only the Sinn Féin Deputies participated in the Dáil, but the other Irish MPs could have done so if they had chosen to adhere to the Republic.

The First Dáil, passed a motion at its last meeting on 10 May 1921, the first three parts of which make explicit the republican view.

  1. That the Parliamentary elections which are to take place during the present month be regarded as elections to Dáil Éireann.
  2. That all deputies duly returned at these elections be regarded as members of Dáil Éireann and allowed to take their seats on subscribing to the proposed Oath of Allegiance.
  3. That the present Dáil dissolve automatically as soon as the new body has been summoned by the President and called to order.

The Second Dáil first met on 16 August 1921, thereby dissolving the First Dáil.

Sinn Féin had decided to use the polls for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as an election for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. No actual voting was necessary in Southern Ireland as all the seats were filled by unopposed returns. Except for Dublin University all other constituencies elected Sinn Féin TDs. As with the First Dáil, Deputies from all parties could have joined the Dáil if they chose, but only the Sinn Féin members did.

From the Third Dáil onwards the Dáil represented only the twenty-six counties which formed the Irish Free State.

In the Second Dáil there were deemed to be four Deputies elected from the Queen's University, but none took their seat.


Queen's University Belfast is a university set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908. It had been part of earlier federal universities since its founding in 1845.

As part of the redistribution of Parliamentary seats in 1918 it was enfranchised as a new non-territorial Parliamentary constituency. It was one of a number of University constituencies given legislative representation.


In 1918 the electorate included all registered graduates of the University. Male graduates qualified to vote if they had attained the age of 21 but female ones had to be at least 30 to acquire the franchise. There were 2,039 voters registered for the 1918 general election. Most, if not all, of those electors would have been plural voters also entitled to vote in a territorial constituency.

Politics of the constituency

Sinn Féin was massively defeated by the Unionist, in 1918. In 1921 the Unionist dominance was so complete that even proportional representation could not stop them winning all four seats.

Electoral System

In 1918 the constituency used the first past the post system.

In 1921 parliamentary representatives of the University were elected using the single transferable vote method of proportional representation.


Election Member
Sir William Whitla
(Ulster Unionist Party)
Election Member
John Campbell
(Ulster Unionist Party)
John Hanna Robb
(Ulster Unionist Party)
Professor Robert James Johnstone
(Ulster Unionist Party)
Hugh Smith Morrison
(Ulster Unionist Party)


1918 general election: Queen's University of Belfast
Party Candidate Votes % ±
UUP Sir William Whitla 1,487 92.65 N/A
Sinn Féin Sean B. Dolan 118 7.35 N/A
Majority 1,369 85.30 N/A
Turnout 1,605 78.72 N/A
1921 general election: Queen's University of Belfast (4 seats)
Party Candidate % 1st Pref Count 1 Count 2Count 3
UUP John Campbell 43.35 835    
UUP John Hanna Robb 19.11 368 438  
UUP Professor Robert James Johnstone 14.49 279 602  
UUP Hugh Smith Morrison 12.62 243 296 564
Sinn Féin Sean B. Dolan 10.44 201 204 204
Electorate: 2,528   Valid: 1,926   Quota: 386   Turnout: 76.19%


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