ACTOR Gabriel Byrne has defended his comments about the Gathering and has now gone on to criticise Arthur's Day, dubbing it 'a piss-up'.
The movie veteran recently called The Gathering "a scam".
But Imelda May pledged her support for the Gathering 2013 tourism drive, even offering to pay the flight costs of Irish immigrants to come home.
"I know Gabriel Byrne doesn't like it. He's entitled to his opinion, but Ireland is in a bad state. I think the Gathering is worth a shot," May, who will headline the first Gathering event, a New Year's Eve Concert in College Green, Dublin, told the Irish Independent.
Byrne, giving a lecture at IADT college in Dun Laoghaire, stood over his comments last night. "I was merely reflecting the opinions of people that I met in America," he said.
Asked his views on the Gathering being launched at the Guinness Storehouse today, Byrne remarked: "What's Arthur's Day about? What's that piece of nonsense about?
"And the idea that people go out and get absolutely pissed on a day that's made up by marketing guys – that's a cynical exercise in exploitation in a country that has a huge problem with binge drinking."
Tickets for the Countdown Concert are available at nyedublin.ie at the early-bird price of €15 plus booking fee until December 10.