17 Jul 2018, 14.01

Protocols in relation to the use of the National Anthem should be introduced, according to a new report on from the Seanad Public Consultation Committee.

The protocols would include the versions of the National Anthem in Irish, English and Irish Sign Language, as well as the musical notation as provided by the Irish Defence Forces School of Music. The Presidential Salute would also be given recognition in the protocols.

Every primary and secondary school should be provided with the National Anthem in Irish, English and Irish Sign Language to assist in the teaching and learning of the National Anthem.

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, school children should be encouraged to hold events where the National Anthem could be performed in Irish, English and/or Irish Sign Language. These annual events could also include a celebration of our national flag and the anthems and flags of children of different backgrounds.

Irish citizens at home and abroad, as well as new citizens of Ireland, should be encouraged to become acquainted with the National Anthem to add to a sense of national pride and belonging. As the musical notation of the National Anthem is included in the Irish passport, a copy of the National Anthem and the protocols for its use should be issued with all Irish passports.

Seanad Leas-Chathaoirleach and Committee Chairman, Senator Paul Coghlan said: “During the course of the Committee’s hearings we learned about the origins of the Anthem. Peadar Kearney wrote the lyrics for “The Soldier’s Song” in late 1909/early 1910 to a melody composed by Patrick Heeney. Liam O’Rinn translated the song into “Amhrán na bhFiann” and the Irish version was first published in 1923. We were deeply honoured to have the descendants of the Kearney and Ó Rinn families attend and contribute to the public hearings on the Anthem.

Many of us know the words of our National Anthem by heart: they were instilled in us in our early lives. One way or another the melody of our National Anthem threads through the hearts of our people, including all of our new citizens who stand proudly when it is being played at citizenship ceremonies, and we know it as our national song and one that is very precious to us. Like all precious things, it is worthy of protection and care.

I believe that the recommendations set out in this Report give expression to the absolute pride we all have in our National Anthem. I hope the recommendations will be taken on board by the Government. I request that the Report be debated in Seanad Éireann and I look forward to engaging with the Minister of Finance during this debate.

I wish to sincerely thank all those who sent in submissions to the Committee, and to the witnesses who have appeared before the Committee. I particularly wish to thank the students who presented at the public hearings. They did themselves and their families and schools proud."

Report rapporteur Senator Mark Daly said: “The National Anthem belongs to all Irish people. The Irish Flag, Harp and Anthem are important symbols of our State and are worthy of respect and protection because of what they represent.

The Flag is protected by international copyright law and is enshrined our Constitution. The Harp is the State symbol of the Irish people and represents our cultural and musical traditions. It has a patent placed upon it by the State for its protection.

The National Anthem is also part of that cultural tradition, and it represents much more - it is a symbol of the struggle against enormous odds and resilience in times of adversity.

A key part of this public consultation was the recommendation from the deaf community that an Irish Sign Language translation version would be developed. The Irish Sign Language Bill was passed into law in December 2017, which for the first time enshrines civil rights for the deaf community. The introduction of an Irish Sign Language translation of the National Anthem would be an important aspect of ensuring equality for all citizens.

It is proposed in the Report that formal recognition of the National Anthem be given by way of the introduction of the first ever set of protocols in relation to the use of the Anthem to assist and guide citizens.”

You can read the report here https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/seanad_public_consultation_committee/reports/2018/2018-07-17_status-treatment-and-use-of-the-national-anthem_en.pdf.

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