Imelda May performs the Irish national anthem before the McGregor-Mayweather fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. PA Images
seanad report

Irish schoolkids should have 'national anthem celebration' on eve of St Patrick's Day

A new report on the future of the national anthem was launched today.

IRISH SCHOOLKIDS should be encouraged to hold events where the national anthem could be performed in Irish, English or Irish sign language, according to a new report issued by senators today.

The report on the future of the national anthem, drawn up following a public consultation, contains a number of recommendations on the status, treatment and use of Amhrán na bhFiann.

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day annually, the report suggests children should perform the anthem at events organised to celebrate the flags and anthems of both Ireland and other nations.

The committee’s report has recommended that the existing wording of the anthem remain unchanged but a protocol be created for the public use of the anthem.

The Seanad Public Consultation Committee began a consultation process in October 2017 and a public invitation for suggestions was issued.

According to a statement from the committee today, the majority of public submissions called for the anthem to be given respect, dignity and protection.


The report suggested a version of the anthem in sign language be created and today the Irish Deaf Society community choir were the first to perform that version of the anthem.

The report also recommends:

  • Primary and secondary schools be provided with the national anthem in Irish, English and in sign language to assist teaching and learning
  • A copy of the national anthem and the protocols for its use be issued with all Irish passports
  • That at public events such as a sporting event, all persons present should stand at attention throughout the performance

As the words and music of the anthem are in the public domain, permission is not needed to use, perform or record the national anthem for non-advertising purposes.

But permission, the report says, should be sought to use the anthem for advertising. The report says the national anthem cannot be modified, parodied or demeaned and alternative words must not be substituted for the original words.

It says permission for use of the anthem for advertising purposes should be sought from the Department of Finance.

The recommendations in the report are not binding.

Chairman of the committee Fine Gael Senator Paul Coghlin said today he hopes that the recommendations will be taken on board by the government, and requested that the report be debated in the Seanad.

“I look forward to engaging with the Minister of Finance during this debate,” he said in a statement.

Ambrán na bhFiann

Gaelic League member Peadar Kearney originally wrote the lyrics to The Soldier’s Song in 1909, while Patrick Heeney composed the melody and Liam Ó Rinn translated the song for it to become Ambrán na bhFiann.

It was sung by the rebel leaders in 1916 as they approached the GPO on Easter Monday during the 1916 Rising and was adopted by the Irish Free State in 1924.

Descendants of Peadar Kearney and Liam Ó Rinn were in attendance today and the grandson of Peadar Kearney said he believes the anthem must be “protected for our future generations”.

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