Today is the last day the Irish public can have their say on the future of the national anthem
You can still have your say.
Members of the public have until 4pm today to make a submission to the Seanad Public Consultation Committee to consider the most appropriate way the Irish national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, should be treated by the State.
The copyright on both the music and the lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann expired in 2012, which prompted the establishment of a committee to consider its treatment in the future.
Rather than seek to change the anthem or look for an alternative, the committee is seeking proposals for guidelines, or possibly even legislation, regarding when, where and how it can be used.
Seanad Leas-Chathaoirleach and Committee Chairman, Senator Paul Coghlan said: “The purpose of this consultation is to determine how the National Anthem should be treated; to consider options such as the passing of legislation, if necessary, the issuing of guidelines, or that no change is necessary to the current public accessibility.
“In terms of free speech, placing restrictions around the use of the National Anthem may contravene well-established rights within this area. For instance, the usage of the National Anthem is particularly popular amongst sporting organisations. This has many positive implications and there is a consistent respect shown to National Anthems within this sphere on a regular basis.
“Were conditions as to when, where, and how the National Anthem could be used put forward, this area would need to be given particular consideration.”
Senator Mark Daly, who has been appointed Rapporteur to lead in the compilation of the Report, added: “The purpose of this consultation is to invite submissions from interested parties and citizens, and especially students, to consider the most appropriate way the State should treat the National Anthem.
“This consultation process is being considered in the context of the music and English and Irish lyrics of the National Anthem no longer being in copyright. Legislative proposals have been made to address this issue and Seanad Éireann would like to consult with citizens on their views on this issue. “The debate around this issue includes aspects of copyright law, cultural tolerance, respect for national symbols, public opinion, free speech and a range of other factors. All of these need to be considered as part of any discussion on the treatment of the National Anthem.”
Interested organisations and individuals have until 4pm on Thursday, November 2 to submit proposals; once the public process is complete, the committee will publish a report for consideration by the Seanad and the Government.