Saturday 17 March 2018

Actor Emmet Kirwan reveals extraordinary coincidence in meeting his estranged brother in this heartwarming story

Emmet Kirwan on The Late Late Show
Emmet Kirwan on The Late Late Show
Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan
Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan
Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Irish actor Emmet Kirwan has opened up about the coincidence that led to him reconnecting with his estranged brother.

The writer from Tallaght, best known for his role in RTE comedy series Sarah and Steve, began by stating his brother became addicted to heroin, which eventually led to an estrangement between him and the rest of the family.

"My brother became addicted to heroin when we were teenagers and he was part of that generation, the early rave generation...heroin kind of proliferated as it does do in areas of social degradation," he explained on The Late Late Show.

"There were a lot of working class neighbourhoods all around Dublin and Ireland getting caught up in it, so my brother did. And he became homeless and we hadn't seen in him two or three years because our relationship had broken down. We didn't know where he was."

On September 11, 2001, Kirwan flew to London for a whistle-stop trip to audition for a musical, which led to their fateful reunion.

"I had just graduated from college and I had an audition in London for We Will Rock You, the musical, so I went over to London - I was only there for six hours because you fly in, do the audition and come home. I was around Piccadilly, it was September 11, 2001 and I was watching Sky News outside a café because I could see people congregating outside looking in at the tv," he said.

Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan
Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan

"I walked around the corner and I hadn't seen my brother in three years and I found him. He was living homeless so he wasn't looking too well. The world was falling apart essentially in the west - this massive terrorist attack was destroying lives - and these two lives reconnect."

He said their first interaction was "really normal" and they caught up over several hours of conversation before parting ways again.

"It was really normal, all those arguments that led to us becoming estranged, melt away because he's your brother. Also, my mother would have told us to never shout in the street," he laughed.

"We had a chat for a few hours. I asked him did he want to come back and he said, 'No I'm not ready yet'. But myself, my mother and father went over again looking for him. We went to the depths of London and we got the word out to him to come home and he did.

"He made the journey back."

His brother has made a full recovery and now works as a drug counsellor and is working in shaping drug policy in the HSE.

"My brother is doing extremely well. He has a Masters degree in psychology, he has a beautiful seven-year-old and he has a new baby on the way and a lovely partner; he works for the HSE at the moment and he's involved in shaping drug policy," he said.

"Who better to help shape that? He's helped thousands of people because he's worked as a counsellor there for 15 years."

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