Wonder who is Playing the Harp now, and wearing the Wig? Big Phil and Dara must be wondering; Were they Shafted by their own, whoever that may be? Michael could be the Pied Piper, but keep a safe distance, otherwise over the Political Cliff – just ask Barry Cowen!

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Inquiry launched into ‘Golfgate’ use of trademark harp emblem

6 hrs ago


Inquiry launched into ‘Golfgate’ use of trademark harp emblem

The Oireachtas Golf Society is being investigated over allegations that it misused a State emblem by featuring a harp on printed material for its controversial ‘Golfgate’ event in Clifden last August.

The harp emblem is a protected trademark under domestic and international law, and can be used only by private entities with the consent of the minister for Enterprise, trade and employment.

The department’s Intellectual Property Unit (IPU) has confirmed it is investigating an allegation that the golf society misused the emblem, and will be contacting the organisation to establish its position.

The IPU is responsible for responding to instances in which non-State bodies use emblems in a way that could lead members of the public to believe that an organisation’s activities are linked to those of Government.

Calling for the Oireachtas Golf Society to be disbanded in September, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl noted that there was no connection between the organisation and the institutions of the state.

“I have satisfied myself on foot of research done by the clerk of the Dáil that that golfing society was never formally established by the Houses of the Oireachtas or has it ever, in its 50 years of existence, been subvented in any way by these houses,” he said.

In a statement, the IPU said it had received correspondence about the alleged unauthorised use of a state emblem by the Oireachtas Golf Society.

“The matter is being reviewed according to the IPU’s usual procedures, which include contacting the relevant party to establish their position.”

The harp, as well as the shamrock, are protected emblems under the Trade Marks Act 1996 and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property – an international treaty signed by 177 countries.

The IPU received six notifications from third parties in relation to alleged misuse of state emblems between 2016 and 2018.

Where necessary, legal advice is sought following engagement with the party responsible for using the emblem.

Printed material used at the Oireachtas Golf Society event in Clifden, Co Galway, featured a harp in a green circle, similar to the logo for the Houses of the Oireachtas. Seating plans also featured the harp as a watermark.

The event – a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the society – was attended by 81 people and caused public outrage over breaches of Covid-19 guidelines.

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