HOLLYWOOD star Jeremy Irons says he regrets that his wife's son – TD Richard Boyd Barrett – didn't get to spend longer with his biological father, Irish theatre director Vincent Dowling.
Speaking for the first time on the issue, Mr Irons (64), whose partner Sinead Cusack is Mr Boyd Barrett's mum, said he was glad that the Independent TD found "a connection" to his natural father.
Mr Dowling was the former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre and died in the US last week. It later emerged that he was the father of the TD.
"Yes, I think it was good for Richard that there was a connection," Mr Irons told the Herald.
"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 had given Mr Boyd Barrett up for adoption and was his biological mother.
The revelation came after the Irish actress canvassed for her son in the 2007 General Election. However, it only emerged two weeks ago, following the death of Mr Dowling (84), that he was Mr Boyd Barrett's 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 TD.
The English actor was speaking as he formally 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 tenants at the 50-acre farm.
Sli Eile founder Joan Hamilton said there were plans to locate both a commercial market garden and a bakery at the complex.
She added: "The experience of psychiatric breakdown affects a person on many levels. Most of all, people say they feel vulnerable and cut off."
Mr Irons said it was a wonderful project because it promoted a more drug-free treatment regime.