Saturday 24 February 2018

I'm glad Richard found connection to Vincent – Irons

Actor Jeremy Irons at the opening of the Sli Eile Health Farm Project in Co Cork
Actor Jeremy Irons at the opening of the Sli Eile Health Farm Project in Co Cork
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

HOLLYWOOD star Jeremy Irons regrets that Dublin TD Richard Boyd Barrett didn't get to spend longer with his biological father, Irish theatre director Vincent Dowling.

Irons, whose wife Sinead Cusack is Mr Boyd Barrett's biological mother, said he was glad that the TD finally had found "a connection" to his natural father.

Mr Dowling (84) was the former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre and died in the US last week.

"Yes, I think it was good for Richard that there was a connection," Irons (64) told the Irish Independent.

"I think maybe he would have liked to have spent a bit more time on it but with Vincent living in America that just wasn't possible."

It emerged in 2007 that Sinead Cusack was Mr Boyd Barrett's biological mother.

The revelation came after the Irish actress, who married Irons in 1978, canvassed for her son in the 2007 General Election.


However, it only emerged two weeks ago, following the death of Mr Dowling, that he was Mr Boyd Barrett's biological father. The Dun Laoghaire-based politician said he had discovered his biological father's identity shortly after that of Ms Cusack and was "very saddened" by Mr Dowling's death.

Mr Dowling, following the publicity surrounding the fact Ms Cusack was the politician's mother, had "figured it out" and personally contacted the Independent TD.

Meanwhile, Irons said he "would love" to shoot a film in Ireland but hasn't found the right project. "Not at the moment . . . but I am always hoping. It would be really nice to work at home," the west Cork-based star said.

"I seem to work all over the place . . . Portugal, Hungary, America. It would be wonderful to be back here. I don't think I have ever made a film here," he said.

The actor has starred in some of the most critically acclaimed films of the past 30 years, including 'Reversal of Fortune', 'The Mission' and 'Lolita', as well as blockbusters including 'Die Hard With A Vengeance' and 'Kingdom of Heaven'.

"I've been asked about a few (Irish) projects but they weren't to my tastes. I have just finished working with Neil Jordan ('The Borgias') so that is the nearest I have got to it."

The English actor was speaking as he launched the Sli Eile farm project in Churchtown, Co Cork.

The farm aims to help reintegrate people with mental health problems back into wider society.

Five people are currently tenants at the 50-acre farm, managing livestock including cattle, pigs and poultry.

"We do seem to be overly reliant on drugs in terms of treating people with mental health issues. What is so wonderful about here (Sli Eile) is that it is effectively a drug-free way of helping people," Irons said.

"This is a marvellous environment in which they can help themselves and reintegrate themselves in society.

"I think it is a wonderfully humane way of helping people," he added.

Sli Eile founder Joan Hamilton said there are plans to locate both a commercial market garden and a bakery at the complex, which has been leased for six years.

Irish Independent

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