Monday 18 February 2019

Flatley puts foot down over false report he wants a British passport

Michael Flatley with wife Niamh and son Michael Jnr on a visit to Dublin. He tries to travel with the family on business trips.
Michael Flatley with wife Niamh and son Michael Jnr on a visit to Dublin. He tries to travel with the family on business trips.
Flatley visits Castlehyde as often as he can.

Ralph Riegel

'LORD of the Dance' Michael Flatley insisted he is "proud to be Irish" as he rubbished claims 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.

However, speaking to the Irish Independent, the 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 said.

"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," he said. However, the star of 'Riverdance', 'Lord of the Dance' and 'Feet of Flames' explained that he is forced to spend a lot of time in London because that is where his business interests are focussed.

"My son goes to school in London because my businesses are based here. My wife lives here (London) 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 United States on business, travelling with his family where possible.

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 in that regard. 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.

He bought the near derelict property for just under €3m – but then lavished almost €27m on the 18th century mansion which was on the verge of collapse.

Construction experts said it would have been easier to simply demolish it and build afresh.

Irish Independent

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