Tuesday 25 October 2016

New law proposed to stop 'inappropriate' use of anthem

Published 15/01/2016 | 02:30

Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly
Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly

Moves are being made to protect the national anthem after the State's copyright to 'Amhran na bhFiann' expired three years ago.

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The expiration of the copyright means the anthem can be used for commercial use, remixed or satirised.

A bill seeking to protect the anthem was announced in the Seanad by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly yesterday.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan had previous stated in the Dáil that the Government planned to protect the integrity of anthem.

However, there has been no sign of legislation despite assurances given three years ago that Mr Noonan's department would look at the possibility of introducing laws ensuring the appropriate use of the song.

The State bought the copyright for 'Amhran na bhFiann' in 1933 for £1,000, but this expired in December 2012.

Senator Daly's bill proposes open-ended protection for 'Amhran na bhFiann' and he is seeking cross-party support for the move.

Mr Daly criticised the Government for not taking action before now.

He said there were fears the song could be commercialised by recording artists or altered for satirical purposes.

"The lack of strict copyright in place for the national anthem leaves this important state symbol exposed," he said.

"Having copyright in place is very important. It protects the anthem from being used in an inappropriate fashion.

"We need to ensure the integrity of our national anthem is maintained."

Other countries have seen the copyright expire on their anthems, allowing them to be altered and used for commercial reasons.

The most famous instances of this were Jimi Hendrix's performance of the 'Star Spangled Banner' at Woodstock and the Sex Pistols' version of 'God Save the Queen'.

Irish Independent

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