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How should we protect our national anthem? Seanad to hear ideas from teachers, soldiers and students

New legislation could see people punished for misusing it.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE SEANAD IS to hear from a range of people about how best to protect our national anthem.

The upper house of our Parliament wants to know if we should protect the anthem by enshrining it in legislation. Time is also a factor as the copyright for the song which was composed in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, is due to expire.

The song, which is written in Irish, was used by rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising, by the IRA during the War of Independence and was and was used often at military functions as a popular Irish Army tune.

Seanad Public Consultation Committee will hold hearings on the anthem on 5 December.

It intends to publish a report on the matter next year.

Seanad Leas-Chathaoirleach and committee chairman, Senator Paul Coghlan, said:  “On Tuesday, we will begin our hearings with a number of the contributors in the Seanad Chamber to discuss the issue in greater detail; to consider options such as the passing of legislation, if necessary, the issuing of guidelines, or that no change is necessary to the current public accessibility.

Senator Mark Daly added that the purpose of this consultation is to discuss with interested parties the most appropriate way the State should treat the national anthem.

He added: “This consultation process is being considered in the context of the music and English and Irish lyrics of the National Anthem no longer being in copyright. Legislative proposals have been made to address this issue and Seanad Éireann would like to consult with citizens on their views on this issue. The debate around this issue includes aspects of copyright law, cultural tolerance, respect for national symbols, public opinion, free speech and a range of other factors.”

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