Report on the status, treatment and use of the national anthem recommends new protocols – Coghlan

-   Cliona Doyle

Senator Paul Coghlan, Chairman of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee, alongside fellow Committee members, today launched the Committee’s Report on the Status, Treatment and Use of the National Anthem.

The report recommends the first ever set of protocols in relation to the use of the Anthem to assist and guide citizens. It is proposed that the protocols and a copy of the Anthem would be issued with all Irish passports.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Senator Paul Coghlan said: “The Committee commenced its public consultation with a call for submissions on the Status, Treatment and Use of the national anthem in October 2017.

“Public hearings on the topic were held in the Seanad Chamber in December 2017. The Committee heard from a broad range of people, including historians, policy makers, experts and also from transition year school students from Cork and Meath.

“The Committee considered a number of options on what protection needed to be afforded to the anthem, legislative or otherwise. The majority of public submissions called for the anthem to be given the respect, dignity and protection that it so rightly deserves, although there was wide agreement that the Anthem is in fact treated with the respect in nearly all cases.

“The Committee has recommended the introduction of the first ever set of protocols in relation to the use of the anthem to assist and guide citizens. It is proposed that the protocols and a copy of the Anthem would be issued with all Irish passports.

“Throughout the process, we as a Committee were mindful that placing restrictions around the use of the national anthem may impact on freedom of expression rights. The Committee was unanimous, therefore in their agreement, that no sanctions or penalties should be put in place in relation to the use of the national anthem. Furthermore, the Committee considered that legislation to protect the national anthem was not required at this stage.

“During the course of the hearings, the Committee also learned how the lack of an Irish Sign Language interpretation of the anthem directly impacts on the deaf community in Ireland.

“The Committee heard from Mr. Alain Newstead, a 16 year old student from Bishopstown Community School in Cork, who is deaf, and who made impassioned pleas for a formal Irish Sign Language version of the Anthem that the Deaf Community could understand and use.  Bishopstown Community School undertook to commence the creation of a Sign Language version and they deserve great credit for this.

“Involving school students in the consultation process was very beneficial to the Committee and, our Report recommends that every primary and secondary school should be provided with the national anthem in Irish, English and Irish Sign Language to assist in the teaching and learning of the national anthem.

“I believe that the recommendations set out in this Report give expression to the absolute pride we all have in our national anthem. I hope the recommendations will be taken on board by the Government, and we hope to debate this Report with the Minister in the Seanad as soon as possible.”

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

The Report can be viewed here: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/seanad_public_consultation_committee/reports/2018/2018-07-17_status-treatment-and-use-of-the-national-anthem_en.pdf

The Draft Protocols recommended by the Committee are contained in Appendix 2 on page 32.

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