It is uncertain if the relevant action has been taken to renew the State’s copyright of the national anthem, which expires at the end of this month.
Copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the composer; Peadar Kearney died in Dec 1942.
News of the copyright issue on ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ (‘The Soldiers’ Song’) came to light in May of last year when Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan queried the lyrics’ origin after a constituent approached her on the matter.
The copyright is held by the Department of Finance and it is believed that a ministerial order may be used to renew this. A spokesperson said the department would take all the necessary steps to ensure the song was not used inappropriately.
At the time of the initial query about the copyright in May 2011, Michael Noonan, the finance minister, made a commitment that the necessary action to renew the copyright would be taken.
“I can assure the deputy that consideration will be given prior to that date to protect the national anthem,” he said.
‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ was written and composed in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heaney.
It consisted of three verses and a chorus published in the Irish Freedom newspaper in 1912.
It was adopted as the State’s national anthem in 1922. The Department of Finance bought the copyright in 1936 for £1,200. Copyright law changed in 1959, so in 1965 it paid another £2,500.
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