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I'm Irish and proud says Flatley as he denies UK citizen bid

LORD of the Dance Michael Flatley insisted he is "proud to be Irish" as he rubbished reports that he has applied for a British passport.

The multi-millionaire dancer angrily dismissed a newspaper report that he was not only applying for British citizenship but would not have his son, Michael Jnr, educated anywhere other than in England.

The 54-year-old star insisted he was deeply proud of his Irish connections and the fact he has his "dream home" here in the shape of his €30m Castlehyde Estate in north Cork.

"I have not applied for UK citizenship and I have not applied for a UK passport," he told the Herald.

"I have never applied for a UK passport and I have no idea where these reports came from.



"I have not spoken to any journalists about anything of this sort and I have now been in contact with my public relations people about this.

"I am very proud to be Irish and nothing has changed in that regard. I love Ireland."

The star of Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames said he spent a lot of time in London because that's where his business interests are.

"My son goes to school in London because my businesses are based here. My wife (Niamh) lives here and there is no way I would want to spend serious time away from my family."

The star also spends time in France, the Caribbean and the US on business.

A native of Chicago, he also regularly returns to the US to visit family and friends.

Mr Flatley stressed that he adores Ireland and spends as much time as possible here.

"We come over to Castlehyde as often as we can but, what with family and business commitments, we don't get there as much as we would both like."

Mr Flatley's wife, Niamh, is from Meath and the couple regularly visit friends when staying in Castlehyde.

Now retired, the star maintains a much lower media profile than when he was the world's highest paid dancer.

But he said he will never forget his Irish heritage.

"I grew up being deeply proud of all things Irish from music to literature and nothing will ever change. I'm Irish and very proud of that fact."

The dancer bought the sprawling Fermoy estate, the ancestral home of Ireland's first President Douglas Hyde, in 2001/2002.