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Chorus of approval: Academy honours 'musical royalty'

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From left: Jimmy MacCarthy, Shay Healy, Phil Coulter, Pete St John, and Ray Harman at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin, where they were inducted into the Irish Music Rights Organisation Academy

From left: Jimmy MacCarthy, Shay Healy, Phil Coulter, Pete St John, and Ray Harman at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin, where they were inducted into the Irish Music Rights Organisation Academy

From left: Jimmy MacCarthy, Shay Healy, Phil Coulter, Pete St John, and Ray Harman at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin, where they were inducted into the Irish Music Rights Organisation Academy

THEY are the stalwarts of the Irish music scene whose songs have been adopted as our unofficial national anthems, becoming the soundtrack for our daily lives.

And now six of Ireland's best-loved songwriters have been inducted into the Irish Music Rights Organisation Academy.

Phil Coulter, Paul Brady, Pete St John, Shay Healy, Ray Harman and Jimmy MacCarthy were the stars of the show as they took to the stage in Dublin last night to be honoured by their peers.

"We should be getting an award for still breathing," laughed Coulter.

While aspiring singers these days often turn to TV talent shows to get their big break, Coulter – previously a judge on RTE's 'You're a Star' – said such programmes were more about viewing figures than music.

"When we were cutting our teeth, to get someone to record one of your songs was a big achievement, to get a record out was an even bigger achievement.

Anthem

"Somebody said with the new technology, the good news is everybody can make a record, the bad news is everybody is making a record.

"Now it's very instant and very disposable. There's just too much stuff out there," he said.

'Fields of Athenry' songwriter Pete St John said he never thought the song, which has been sung by Irish sports fans around the world and is the unofficial national anthem, would have made such an impact.

"I thought I wrote another Pete St John, just another ballad, I had no idea it would take off the way it did but I'm not complaining. I just genuflect and bless myself every time I hear it," he laughed.

Fellow songwriter Shay Healy said the award was all the more special as it was from fellow musicians.

While Something Happens guitarist Ray Harman, who is current musical composer for 'Love Hate', wondered if he had walked in to the wrong room.

He said: "I think it must be a bit of a typo. Look at the guys behind me here, they're music royalty in Ireland so it's great to be included. I'm really flattered."

Irish Independent