Tuesday 16 July 2019

Family portrait

Sinead Cusack is pictured with son Sam Irons and actor husband Jeremy Irons at Sam's photographic exhibition
Sinead Cusack is pictured with son Sam Irons and actor husband Jeremy Irons at Sam's photographic exhibition

Eugene Moloney and Anne-Marie Walsh

ACTRESS Sinead Cusack was publicly reunited with political activist son Richard Boyd Barrett last night.

It was their first meeting in front of the media since a newspaper revealed that the 59-year-old actress had given him up for adoption after his birth in 1968.

There were hugs all round as the 39-year-old election candidate was greeted first by Sinead, then by her husband Jeremy Irons and then by his half-brother Sam Irons, whose photographic exhibition was taking place.

Mr Boyd Barrett revealed how his mother had arrived in Dublin almost a week ago and, away from the glare of publicity, had been helping him to canvass and distribute election leaflets.

"Sinead has been very supportive with my campaign, as have my [adoptive] parents and all my family and friends," said Mr Boyd Barrett.

The normally outspoken political activist, who is running for election in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, said that last night's reunion was a family affair. He added that he had never felt that Ms Cusack being his mother was something that should have turned into newspaper headlines.

"It's not a secret but thenagain it's not something that I really want to be made into a story," he said.

As family and friends gathered around, he was given a personal tour of the photographic exhibition by his half-brother.

'I'm very happy and I'm very proud of him. I hope he gets a good result'

And Ms Cusack spoke for the first time of her joy at being reunited with her political activist son.

It was revealed this month that she gave Mr Boyd Barrett for adoption after his birth in 1968.

"It was wonderful to be reunited with him," said the actress, who lives in England with her husband.

She added: "He stands a really good chance and he deserves to get in because he's an activist and he gets things done. I'm very happy, very proud of him," she said of his decision to stand for election.

However, she was giving nothing away about the identity of Mr Boyd Barrett's father. "That's not a matter for the media. That's a very private family matter."

Referring to the recent newspaper article which revealed that she was the People Before Profit activist's mother, she simply said: "It was unfortunate timing."

The actress spoke of how when she was younger she used to walk along Dun Laoghaire waterfront and said she was fully behind her son's opposition to the development of Dun Laoghaire harbour.

"I think it's very important that we send a signal to the developers that we're not going to sell our birthright."

Her husband said his wife had been working on Mr Boyd Barrett's behalf in the campaign.

"I hope he gets a good result," Mr Irons said.

Mr Boyd Barrett is a member of the Socialist Workers party and chaired the Irish Anti-War Movement campaign, of which Ms Cusack was a leading supporter.

She said she was proud of both Richard and her son Sam Irons (27), whose exhibition she was attending last night in Dublin's Monster Truck Gallery in Francis Street.

Sam is a photographer and had travelled to the West Bank to photograph the wall that divides Palestine and Israel.

"I was extremely worried," said the actress, who is working on a new version of EM Forster's 'A Room With A View'.

Ms Cusack is the daughter of the late actors Cyril and Maureen Cusack.

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