Winstone: Irish are skint, but we can bounce back
ACTOR Ray Winstone said the Irish are among the hardest workers in the business.
The 56-year-old spent two months here last summer filming two-part Sky One drama 'Moonfleet', an adaptation of John Meade Falkner's 1898 novel.
Winstone, whose wife Elaine is originally from Dublin, said he found the country barely recognisable when he returned in June.
"We were on a very hardworking set, they were real grafters . . . the last time I was here (though) Ireland was a very different place. Now it's as if the rug has been pulled out from under you, everyone's skint," said Winstone, who filmed 'King Arthur' here in 2004.
The London-born star, famous for playing violent roles in movie hits such as 'Scum' and 'The Departed', said he understood better than anyone the financial difficulties many in Ireland were currently going through, as he was declared bankrupt twice in the 1980s for not paying taxes.
"I'm not ashamed by it, it happens to a lot people and many top themselves over it," said Winstone.
"Life goes on and you can bounce back. It was my own fault I was bankrupt but a lot are bankrupt and it's not their fault, it's because of the banks or some government policy. Don't kill yourself because if you've been successful once you can be that again."
Winstone returned to Dublin yesterday for a screening of the forthcoming Sky One series.
'Moonfleet' follows a young man finding his way in the world and will kick off as part of the station's Christmas programming schedule.
Winstone said the move shows Sky's determination to further compete with the likes of the BBC for ratings.
"When I spoke to Sky about this project, they kept saying they wanted a 'punk' version of a BBC production, a real Sky piece and not an imitation. 'Moonfleet' has energy," he said.