Call to issue copies of national anthem with Irish passports

Copies of Ireland's national anthem should be issued with all future Irish passports, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

The initiative is part of a set of protocols proposed by a committee of senators who were tasked with examining how the anthem - Amhran na bhFiann - should be protected and promoted.

The committee stopped short of recommending legislative protections for the anthem, including penalties for its misuse.

Members instead called for protocols that would offer guidance on correct usage.

Amhran na bhFiann was first written in English as the Soldier's Song by Peadar Kearney more than 100 years ago to a melody composed by Patrick Heeney.

The song was translated into Irish by the civil servant and linguist Liam O Rinn.

His version of Amhran na bhFiann was first published in 1923.

The state's copyright on the anthem lapsed in 2013 and there have been calls for it to be renewed to prevent misuse.

The Seanad Public Consultation Committee conducted hearings on the status, treatment and use of the anthem.

Its recommendations were published in Dublin on Tuesday.

The proposed protocols would include the Irish, English and Irish Sign Language versions of the anthem, as well as the musical notation as provided by the Irish Defence Forces School of Music.

The committee recommended:

- Every primary and secondary school should be provided with the various versions of the anthem to assist in the teaching and learning.

- On the eve of St Patrick's Day, school children should be encouraged to hold events where the various versions of the anthem could be performed. It is envisaged that the annual events could also include a celebration of the 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 anthem to add to a sense of national pride and belonging.

- As the musical notation of the anthem is included in the Irish passport, a copy of the anthem and the protocols for its use should be issued with all Irish passports.

Committee chairman Senator Paul Coghlan said they had been "deeply honoured" that descendants of the Kearney and O Rinn families attended and contributed to the public hearings.

"Many of us know the words of our national anthem by heart: they were instilled in us in our early lives," he said.

"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."

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