Bono is the best of what we are, says Harry Crosbie
Dublin developer Harry Crosbie has spoken out in defence of his close friend Bono, after the rock star received a torrent of criticism for his speech to members of the European's People's Party in Dublin's Convention Centre on Friday.
Mr Crosbie described the singer as the best of Irish and credited him with giving the country a voice that has resonated around the world.
His comments come after the U2 frontman experienced the public's wrath when he appeared on stage at the event on foot of an invitation from Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
His speech addressed centre-right leaders – including German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Addressing the European audience, Bono said: "I want to give an enormous, enormous shout out. The biggest shout out I have in my heart, to the Irish people for coming through.
"I'd love to say it was the Troika but I think it was despite the Troika. The Irish people bailed the Irish people out."
But his words were met with indignation on air and in online social forums by critics who questioned the band's tax status and the singer's right to speak for the Irish people.
However, many also spoke out on behalf of Bono.
One online commentator pointed out that reading "the poison about Bono I rest my case about the dark side of the Irish personality". Another said: "If only all the Bono begrudgers in Ireland could turn that energy into something more productive."
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Crosbie joined in with the chorus of supporters, saying: "Bono is the best of what we are."
He added: "Bono has given us a voice which cuts through the media chatter and makes us heard around the world."
And he said: "We are very fortunate to have him."
Despite the wave of criticism online, a source at the conference said the rock star's appearance "went down a storm" inside the convention centre.
"Two hundred people ran up to the front of the stage to take photos as soon as he came on. The crowd were lapping it up. People were nodding and laughing at everything he said. They were visibly swooning".
After the conference, Bono teamed up with Hollywood A-lister Sean Penn, who was in town to present a human rights award posthumously to the Pakistani activist Farida Alfridi, who was murdered by militants.
The pair hit the town on Friday night with singer Julian Lennon. The group had dinner in Cleaver East in the Clarence Hotel, before heading off to Baggot's-Hutton wine bar on South William Street.
Meanwhile, U2 fans are contending with the news this weekend that the new album will not be released until 2015.
According to US publication Billboard, music lovers will have to wait another year for the album and tour.