And not the first time that it grated on the ears of Deputy Dillon either. This decision, however, was not gazetted or otherwise formally promulgated at the time but was simply put into effect for official purposes. On the 20th July, 1926, the then Minister for Defence, in reply to a question raised by Deputy O.G. Esmonde in the Dáil, stated that the "Soldier's Song" was the National Anthem. On the 12th March, 1929, a band arrangement, prepared by Colonel Fritz Brasé, Director of the Army School of Music, was approved by the Executive Council as the official arrangement of the National Anthem, and on the 19th February, 1932, Colonel Brasé was instructed to prepare scores for orchestral and other purposes.
The music of the "Soldier's Song," it is generally understood, was composed at the end of 1909, or the beginning of 1910, by a Mr. Patrick Heeney, and the words were written at the same time, it is believed, by Mr. Peadar O Cearnaigh. Mr. Heeney died in 1911 and it is his legal personal representative who is interested, with Mr. O Cearnaigh, in the agreement which has been arrived at and in respect of which this Estimate is being brought in. Throughout the period of 1924 and 1932 Mr. O Cearnaigh several times put forward claims for royalties in respect of the performing and publishing rights of the song, and these claims were brought to a head finally in 1932 when Mr. O Cearnaigh joined with the personal representative of the late Mr. Heeney and threatened to bring proceedings against all persons who performed the work or printed the music unless payments were made to them of the royalties which they claimed. In pursuance of this, the Directors of the Army and Gárda Síochána Bands, the Director of the Broadcasting Station, and the managements of the various theatres and cinemas in Dublin were communicated with by the solicitors for Messrs. O Cearnaigh and Heeney, and, ultimately, proceedings were taken by them against the Dublin Theatre Co., Ltd., to obtain an injunction to restrain them from infringing the copyright which they claimed, and claiming damages for alleged previous infringements.
It seemed most desirable that the copyright of the National Anthem should vest in the State and it was deemed inexpedient that an action such as this should proceed in the courts. Accordingly, the Executive Council authorised the Attorney-General to endeavour to acquire on behalf of the State any rights possessed by Messrs. O Cearnaigh and Heeney in the Anthem. After negotiation, and the Attorney-General having satisfied himself that Messrs. O Cearnaigh and Heeney had shown a good title to the rights in the Anthem, a settlement was arrived at in the following terms:—
(1) That the Minister for Finance should pay £980 to Messrs. Peadar O Cearnaigh and Michael Heeney;
(2) That the Minister should pay £20 to the Talbot Press, Ltd., Dublin;
(3) That the Minister should pay £150 to Messrs. Miley and Miley in full satisfaction of their costs;
(4) That the Minister should pay £50 to Messrs. O'Hanlon and Robinson, Solicitors for the Dublin Theatre Company, in full satisfaction of their costs;
(5) That Messrs. O Cearnaigh and Heeney and the Talbot Press, Ltd., should cede all rights in the "Soldier's Song" to the Minister, should stay the action against the Dublin Theatre Company, and should agree to take no further proceedings in respect of breach of copyright or of royalties claimed; that the Talbot Press, Ltd., should be allowed to dispose of, for their own profit and without payment of any further royalties, any stock of the "Soldier's Song" printed by them and in existence at the time of settlement.
An agreement embodying the settlement was executed by the parties on 20th October, 1933.
Having regard to the facts that (1) the negotiations had been of a protracted nature, (2) that the settlement arrived at was satisfactory to all concerned and that, consequently, the disposal of the whole matter by immediate payment was desirable, (3) that the deed of transfer signed on 20th October recited that the money due under the deed had been paid over, (4) that at that date the Dáil was not due to reassemble for nearly a month, and (5) that the necessary Estimate would more than likely be non-contentious it was decided that recourse should be had to the Contingency Fund to enable an immediate payment to be made. Payment was accordingly issued on 26th October. The Estimate now presented is for authority to repay the sum of £1,200 to the Contingency Fund.