Call to rebrand Artane Band due to ‘trauma’

Council to debate significance of Artane industrial school link to band playing for GAA

The Artane Band could be formally asked to change its name due its historical ties to the notorious St Joseph's Industrial School, following a Dublin City Council debate this month.

The band is synonymous with the GAA and traditionally plays before marquee matches at Croke Park, including All-Ireland finals.

While celebrated for its musical heritage, for some the band remains a symbol of the industrial school from which it was born and of other similarly controversial institutions.

"Considering the institutional abuse meted out to many children at St Joseph's Industrial School, Artane, and the trauma that many continue to suffer, and, given the fact that the Artane Boys Band was at the centre of promoting this institution, this committee calls on the Artane Band to consider renaming," a motion sets out ahead of a meeting of the South East Area Committee on September 14th.


The debate has been introduced by Cllr Mannix Flynn, who was a resident of the industrial school in the late 1960s.

Mr Flynn said he has been approached by many former pupils of the school disturbed by the continued association with the band, despite the passage of time.

Lives in institutions

“For many of us who were in institutions, the Artane Band is a symbol of that trauma and of those years of ur lives in institutions,” Mr Flynn said.

The original boys' band was established by the Christian Brothers at St Joseph's Industrial School, Artane, in 1872 and began its close association with the GAA in 1886, a relationship that is celebrated to this day.

In June of 1969, the Artane Industrial School closed and membership of the band was opened up, "ensuring a seamless transition from school band to a community band".

While for many that is the point of the band, Mr Flynn said the divergent opinion is that it remains an inadvertent symbol of Ireland’s troubling history with institutional abuse.

“It’s an absolute insult to those of us who are still trying to recover. When you go to Croke Park and that band marches out, we are constantly reminded.”

If Mr Flynn’s motion is adopted by the committee, the council will then write to the Artane Band with a request that it consider rebranding itself.


Asked about the motion, Con Hogan, chairman of the Artane School of Music, from which the Artane Band is drawn, issued a statement saying it is a community based, voluntary organisation located in the North City Artane area from which it takes its name.

“Its mission is to provide education in music and musicianship, leadership and character formation for its members. The Artane Band has a long and proud tradition of inclusive service to the local community from which it draws continuing and active support. We are proud to have the name of that community in the title of our school and on our flagship ensemble, The Artane Band,” he said.

“The Artane School of Music is currently engaged in a forward looking programme to enhance its facilities and range of services, incorporating exacting standards of governance and child protection,” he added.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times