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Irish Senators Fiddle With Anthems While Irish History Burns

AN SIONNACH FIONN

Every time I hear of some new bit of nonsense out of Seanad Éireann, the unelected – and unelectable – upper house of the Oireachtas, I rue the day that the voters of Ireland refrained from ejecting the legislative circus of self-important buffoons and failed party hacks from their cushioned seats. The latest bit of senatorial embarrassment concerns a draft report by the Seanad Public Consultation Committee which argues that Amhrán na bhFiann, that old dirge of a national anthem, should be given official protection and promotion by the State. Their list of recommendations includes the oddball suggestion that Irish and English language verses of the song should be sent out to all publicly-funded schools. Which, of course, begs an obvious question: who on earth sings Amhrán na bhFiann in the English language? I’ve never heard anyone belt out “The Soldier’s Song” as Béarla and I’ve no idea why…

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