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In Irish nationality law, birth in Northern Ireland grants an entitlement similar to birth within the Republic itself.

In 1956, Killanin stated that both the OCI and the BOA "quite rightly" judged eligibility based on citizenship laws.

Prior to the 1906 Intercalated Games, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) were generally non-existent and athletes could enter the Olympics individually.

John Pius Boland, who came first in two tennis events in 1896, is now listed as "IRL/GBR"; Boland's daughter later claimed that he had objected furiously when the Union Jack was raised to mark his triumph, and that the organisers apologised for not having an Irish flag.

Whereas Pierre de Coubertin recognised teams from Bohemia and Finland separately from their respective imperial powers, Austria and Russia, he was unwilling to make a similar distinction for Ireland, either because it lacked a National Olympic Committee, or for fear of offending Britain.UCI and IAAF affiliated bodies were subsequently affiliated to the OCI, thus regularising the position of Irish competitors in those sports at the Olympics.Members of the all-Ireland National Cycling Association (NCA) with Irish Republican sympathies twice interfered with the Olympic road race in protest against the UCI-affiliated Irish Cycling Federation (ICF).In 1956, three members caused a 13-minute delay at the start.Through to the 1960s, Ireland was represented in showjumping only by members of the Irish Army equitation school, as the all-island civilian equestrian governing body was unwilling to compete under the Republic's flag and anthem. The BOA responded that "Unbeknown to each other both the OCI and BOA have constitutions approved by the IOC acknowledging territorial responsibility for Northern Ireland", the BOA constitution dating from 1981.

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