Written Answers - National Anthem

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 731 No. 1

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  109.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan  Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   if the copyright to the National Anthem expires on 31 December 2012; and if the State holds the copyright to the various Irish language translations that have been made since 1917. [9874/11]

  110.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan  Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   his views on the fact that the currently used translation of the Soldiers Song by Peadar Kearney has explicit party political connotations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9875/11]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 110 together.

In response to the Deputy’s question, my Department holds the copyright in the National Anthem. The principal reasons for holding the copyright are to ensure that it is freely available, to prescribe that performance fees are not to be charged or collected in respect of the use of the National Anthem, and to ensure that it is not used in an inappropriate context and without due deference, such as to render it an object of scorn or derision.

[139]Statutory Instrument No. 158 of 1995 European Communities (Term of Protection of Copyright) Regulations provided for the extension of the term of protection of literary, dramatic and artistic works to the lifetime of the author and a period of 70 years after the author’s death irrespective of the date when the work is published or otherwise lawfully made available to the public’’. As Peadar Kearney’s death took place in November 1942 copyright on the national anthem will expire in December 2012.

The state does not hold copyright in respect of the various Irish language translations that have been made since 1917. I am however satisfied that the current version of the National Anthem as published on the Department of the Taoiseach’s website is the appropriate and correct interpretation of the words as composed by Peadar Kearney.

Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 67.


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