Wednesday 14 November 2018

Cusack's son Boyd Barrett springs another surprise

Michael Brennan

SOCIALIST campaigner Richard Boyd Barrett last night told how his birth mother Sinead Cusack re-established contact with him after more than 30 years.

The 39-year-old was the surprise package of the 2007 election, narrowly missing out on the last seat in the Dun Laoghaire constituency to the Green Party's Ciaran Cuffe.

He attracted international media attention when it was revealed during the election campaign that 59-year-old actress Sinead Cusack was his birth mother.

But he told the Irish Independent this was not the reason he came so close to taking the final seat.

"I think if media publicity got people elected, Michael McDowell wouldn't have lost his seat.

"And I also think people who vote are much more discerning and vote on the real issues, and certainly there was no evidence in canvassing that the issue of my parentage played (a role)."

Earlier, he revealed that Ms Cusack, who is married to actor Jeremy Irons, had written to the adoption board a year and a half ago in an attempt to find him. She had given him up for adoption after his birth in 1968.

Mr Boyd Barrett told TV3's the 'Political Party' show he had agreed to re-establish contact.

"I wasn't shocked, I was delighted," he said.

He said that the actress had been quietly helping him with his election campaign and added that when he had been contacted by a newspaper about his parentage earlier this month, he had confirmed it straight away.

Last week, he met with Ms Cusack again, her husband Jeremy Irons and his half-brother Sam Irons, whose photographic exhibition was taking place in Dublin.

Mr Boyd Barrett got only 876 votes when he ran in the 2002 general election, however, this time around he polled 5,233 first-preference votes.

He said he believed this was due to his work in the constituency, including the successful campaign to prevent the seaside baths in Dun Laoghaire from being turned into a high-rise development.

"The result wasn't particularly surprising for us. We'd known for about a year we had a good chance of winning a seat.

"It was a little bit disappointing for us to miss out but, by any standards, it was a significant advance for us."

Despite being a member of the Socialist Workers Party, he ran for election as a member of People Before Profit Alliance which, he said, appealed to a broader number of voters.

At the fifth count he was still 333 votes ahead of the Greens' Ciaran Cuffe.

However, Mr Cuffe gained a significant amount of transfers when Fine Gael's Eugene Regan was eliminated, allowing him to retain his seat.

Mr Boyd Barrett said that he was very pleased to have out-polled Fiona O'Malley, of the Progressive Democrats, who lost her seat.

"I think that really says something about the more hardline, neo-liberal, pro-privatisation policies of the Progressive Democrats.

"Certainly, it was a good result for us to be ahead of those sort of candidates."

Mr Boyd Barrett, who helped organised the 100,000-strong Dublin rally against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, said he felt "a bit knackered" after the election campaign.

But he said that he was already getting involved in another issue this week - the potential sale of St Michael's Hospital in Dun Laoghaire to private apartment developers.

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