Tuesday 20 March 2018

Watch: Toe-tapping TDs break into song as Dáil witnesses impromptu session

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

There was a new twist on new politics today when some of the country’s best-known performers gathered at Leinster House for an impromptu sing-song – which they hope will get them more airtime.

Phil Coulter, John Sheahan, Johnny Duhan, Michael English, Tony Allen, Sibéal Ní Chasaide, Ruaile Buaile and a host of other musicians brought Kildare Street to a standstill with a series of traditional songs and music.

They were backing a campaign by Labour Party TD Willie Penrose who believes that radio stations should allocate 40pc of airtime to home-grown talent.

He said other countries such as France have similar rules but Ireland isn’t coming “an ass’s roar” of that figure.

Former Tánaiste Joan Burton, Alan Kelly and Brendan Howlin were among the politicians spotted toe-tapping along to the half hour session outside the main gates of Leinster House.

A new bill drawn up by Mr Penrose would require radio stations to have a distinctive Irish element, including folk, traditional, country, rock, pop and classical.

“‘Thousands of the finest Irish musicians are being excluded from our airwaves simply because we have allowed ourselves to be steered by musical trends and fashions constructed primarily in the US and Great Britain,” said Mr Penrose.

“In the context of the new make-up of the Dáil, the current political dispensation and the supposed new politics,

“I look forward to seeing this Bill become fully fledged, important legislation on the Statute Book. It will protect our musical heritage for future generations of our citizens. They deserve nothing less.”

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