Thursday 27 July 2017

Byrne's remarks unpatriotic, says Ring

Greg Harkin

ANOTHER government minister has hit out at actor Gabriel Byrne, branding him "unpatriotic" for questioning the motives behind The Gathering.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said he was disappointed with the Hollywood star's comments.

"I didn't like his comments. I felt it was unpatriotic. I felt that he could have put the green jersey on this one."

Mr Ring was speaking at the launch of a website promoting walking holidays in Co Sligo.

Byrne, who previously served as the cultural ambassador for Ireland in the US, dismissed The Gathering 2013 initiative as "a scam" and said many who left Ireland for the US felt abandoned by the State.

Mr Ring said some of the issues raised by Byrne were correct and he would support him on those, but it was now time to "move on" from his comments.

"Gabriel Byrne has been a good ambassador for Ireland. He's a well-known personality and he made his comments.

"But in all fairness to him, I don't think anybody in the country can say now they don't know what The Gathering is," he said.

Irish Independent

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