WHILE John McCain and Barack Obama are just days away from squaring off in one of the most anticipated elections in history, another battle is ensuing over a song dedicated to Barack Obama's Irish ancestry.
Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys, made up of brothers Ger, Brian and Donnacha Corrigan, all originally from Castletroy, recorded 'There's No One as Irish as Barack O'Bama' earlier this year in honour of the Chicago senator's roots in the small town of Moneygall in Offaly.
The song gained the Limerick brothers a degree of exposure in the United States, where the song appeared on MSNBC's Hardball show, featured in several newspapers, and received 50,000 hits on popular website, YouTube.
However, Ger Corrigan is alleging that Shay Black, brother of famous Irish musician Mary Black, has "hijacked" the song and is claiming a co-writing credit and failing to acknowledge their authorship of the original version, a charge Black denies.
Black's version of the song, complete with new verses, has been seen by nearly 350,000 people on You Tube and has received huge publicity in the States, with the American based Shay Black even stating the humorous song could even "tip the balance in swing states in the upcoming election".
"It is very simple, he sent me an email in June asking if he could add some verses for a band camp he was holding," said a furious Ger Corrigan this week. "It was then posted on You Tube as if it was written entirely by him - a claim repeated on his own website and by bloggers and national media. He never gave us any credit."
Corrigan added: "We demanded he take it down but he refused. This is a complete hijacking; if I add two verses to Hey Jude it doesn't mean I wrote it. To say we are not impressed is an understatement - this is pure opportunism."
Shay Black, for his part, claims he has given the brothers fair credit, but has refused to remove the song from You Tube. Both sides have since sought legal advice.
"I have always acknowledged the fact that they wrote the original version, and have tried to cooperate with the Corrigan Brothers in making that fact clear," Shay told the Limerick Leader.
"Removing the song from YouTube now would remove all the links (to the video] that people are forwarding. For whatever reason, the song has tapped into a vein that is actually becoming a vibrant political movement amongst white Irish folks who may have found it difficult to vote for a black man. I have been told that this song is the cause of a paradigm shift that could actually tip the balance in swing states in the election."