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MPs to vote on English national anthem as Northern Ireland considers similar move

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  The England team sing the national anthem prior to kickoff  during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 3, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
England’s rugby players singing the national anthem (Photo: Getty Images)

MPs in Westminster will vote today on whether England should adopt its own official national anthem, which could prompt Northern Ireland to do the same.

The long-standing British anthem God Save the Queen is currently sung at sporting events across England, but Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins believes that there should instead be a designated English song.

The issue, which has been debated for years, will be brought before Parliament today in the form of the English National Anthem Bill.

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If the vote is passed his bill will be debated again at a second reading.

Northern Ireland officials have conceded that they would most likely follow suit if England abandon God Save the Queen at international fixtures.

Scotland and Wales use the Flower of Scotland and Land of Our Fathers respectively in international football games.

Ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games England adopted Jerusalem as their anthem after a public vote, whilst Northern Irish athletes used Danny Boy.

The Republic of Ireland’s national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann or The Soldier’s Song, was written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney, but only became widely known after it was sung at the GPO during the Easter Rising of 1916.

The lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann have been criticised for its military references and anti-British sentiment, whilst others have argued that this its essence follows that of national anthems in general.

But Ireland’s rugby team, which represents the island as a whole, adopted its own anthem, Ireland’s Call, which the players sing at international fixtures.

Below are the translated lyrics to Amhrán na bhFiann (The Soldier’s Song):

Soldiers are we

whose lives are pledged to Ireland;

Some have come

from a land beyond the wave.

Sworn to be free,

No more our ancient sire land

Shall shelter the despot or the slave.

Tonight we man the gap of danger

In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal

‘Mid cannons’ roar and rifles peal,

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

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Nemesha Balasundaram
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Nemesha Balasundaram is a Reporter with The Irish Post. Follow her on Twitter @nemeshaB

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