Wednesday 24 January 2018

Karen Coleman: Maybe I'm naive, Gabriel, but I think diaspora still has a bit of a grá for us

GABRIEL Byrne's blistering attack on The Gathering 2013 project must have gone down like a lead balloon among those in the Irish tourism industry organising next year's massive Irish diaspora bash. They should all listen back to the compelling Today fm interview to get a sense of Byrne's anger at how Ireland is treating the very people it wants to attract back home next year.

The erudite actor described The Gathering as a sham when he spoke to Matt Cooper on Monday's 'Last Word' show. He derided the notion of Ireland inviting its emigrants to come back home to help the very ailing economy they had to leave to find work.

His blunt declaration that Irish Americans are fed up of being shaken down 'for a few quid' was another punch to the national pride. So too was the suggestion that they are sick to death of being treated as 'tourists' who should fork out large sums for plane tickets to attend 'egg-and-spoon' races in Ireland.

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