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City council wants IRFU to play Soldiers' Song at Cup

DUBLIN city councillors are to pressure rugby chiefs to use the Irish national anthem at the World Cup.

Amhran na bhFiann is currently played at home matches along with Ireland's Call, the official team song. However, the national anthem has never been played at international rugby games abroad so it will not feature at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Independent councillor Neil Ring, who has a family connection to Amhran na bhFiann, said he is confident a motion he has tabled -- requesting the IRFU use the anthem at the World Cup -- will be passed.

"I would be very disappointed if it wasn't passed. I think right-minded city councillors will vote for it," he told the Herald.

He said his grand uncle Liam Ring translated the song into Irish for the official Dail record and it is this version that is now in use.

"Peadar Kearney wrote the words (in English) and Liam Ring was the translator in the Dail and he translated it into Irish. That is my personal interest in it," the councillor said.

Mr Ring said he cannot understand why Amhran na bhFiann cannot be used at games away from home.

"I don't see why the IRFU are still refusing to play it at away grounds. It gives the impression that Ireland's Call is our national anthem," he told the Herald.

Mr Ring anticipates getting the support of Fianna Fail, independent councillors and Sinn Fein for his motion when it is tabled on Monday. The IRFU did not comment at the time of writing.

The issue has long divided rugby supporters. A row erupted in 2007 when Ireland played Italy at the Ulster's Ravenhill grounds. The game was the first international played at the east Belfast venue in 53 years.

However, it was overshadowed by a dispute over the decision not to play God Save The Queen, the British national anthem. The IRFU had ruled that any game held in Belfast was deemed an away fixture, so only Ireland's Call would be played. Former Irish winger Trevor Ringland was critical of the move.

At the 1987 World Cup -- in the days before Ireland's Call -- The Rose of Tralee was played instead of either anthem.