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Poll: God Save the Queen should remain as Northern Ireland sports anthem, says DUP minister - do you agree?

By Steven Beacom

Sports Minister Paul Givan has insisted there is no reason why God Save The Queen should not continue to be played before Northern Ireland football internationals.

For many years, debate has raged over the anthem being sung at Windsor Park, and at away games involving Northern Ireland, with some suggesting it is a deterrent to members of the nationalist community supporting the team.

Former Northern Ireland player Paul McVeigh has said in the past, that God Save The Queen turns Catholics off.

Mr Givan, however, told the Belfast Telegraph, that he believes that God Save The Queen ought to stay. "To me, the anthem is going to continue to be sung," he said.

"It's ultimately a matter for the Irish FA, but I certainly wouldn't want to see the anthem removed.

"It is our national anthem and therefore it is an issue that should be left as it is. I think people recognise that and I also think the Northern Ireland football team is representative of the community and it draws support from right across the community.

"The anthem is something that is raised by some individuals to create a political debate, but actually, in terms of the sport, it is not an issue, because people are getting on with the game."

First Minister Arlene Foster earlier this year rejected renewed calls for a new anthem in Northern Ireland, after Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins proposed his case in the House of Commons for an English National Anthem Bill.

God Save the Queen, the national anthem for the UK as a whole, is currently used for England during most sporting events, while the Scotland and Wales football teams have their own anthems.

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