Irish Blog Whacked

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Gabriel Byrne slams The Gathering

Tue 03 Mar 2010Gabriel Byrne appointed cultural envoy
Gabriel Byrne has been appointed as Cultural Ambassador for Ireland, Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced in Washington this evening.
The Dublin-born actor will work closely with the Government and artistic bodies to develop "an artistic vision" that is inclusive of the Irish diaspora throughout the world.

Gabriel Byrne slams The Gathering

Gabriel Byrne says the bridge between Ireland and its diaspora is broken
Gathering 2013 launched in US | 27/09/2012
Gabriel Byrne appointed cultural envoy | 16/03/2010
Gabriel Byrne named Ireland's first cultural ambassador | 17/03/2010
The Gathering
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The Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has dismissed the Gathering 2013 initiative as "a scam."

Byrne, who previously served as the cultural ambassador for Ireland in the US, said many who left Ireland for the US feel abandoned by the Government - and that the bridge between Ireland and its diaspora is broken.

He also said Irish-Americans are not receptive to being "shaken down" for money.

The Gathering is a tourism initiative to entice people with Irish connections to visit the country during 2013. 

Speaking on The Last Word on Today FM today, which was broadcast from New York, Byrne said the Taoiseach’s speech launching The Gathering was "slightly offensive."

"People are sick to death of being asked to help out in what they regard as a scam," he said

"I wish The Gathering the very best of luck but they have to understand that the bridge between the diaspora and the people is broken and I tried to fix that for two years and it’s still broken.... Most people don’t give a shit about the diaspora [in Ireland] except to shake them down for a few quid."

"The diaspora has a very powerful spiritual connection to the island of Ireland. I remember when I was growing up in Dublin those buses would pull up and those people in Burberry coats would be laughed at because they’d say 'here come the Yanks looking for their roots.' Well, as far as I’m concerned one of the most sacred things you can do is look for your roots."

"The other day I was talking to a group of people. One of them was an illegal immigrant. His father died, he couldn’t get home. He feels abandoned by the Irish Government. He feels an alien. He can’t go back. Then I talked to two kids, a girl and a boy who were forced to emigrate because there are no jobs. And they blame the incompetence and the gangsterism of the Government for being forced to emigrate.‘

Byrne stepped down as Ireland’s cultural ambassador at the end of last year.

"It was a tremendous achievement what we did in two years. I was really disappointed the way all those contacts, all that hard work was just dropped and it really made me disillusioned and disappointed with this Government who go on about their love for culture for arts and actually really don’t give a toss about it."

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There are a lot of Irish people the government does not want to come home: Irish people who have not found work abroad can get no support from the state for two years if they come home.
6 Minutes AgoReplyShare

Byrne is completely correct. 'The Gathering' smacks of pathetic desperation on the part of a people that have a very ambivalent attitude to its massive diaspora. How many of you have made snide remarks concerning Irish Americans who came here in the past to reconnect with their roots? Very many, I would suspect. I would go further and suggest that Irish people have a profound disdain for Irish Americans. Why? I believe it is shame: that so many people (often from the poorer classes and frequently from the losing side of the Civil War) left this State that failed them and made to the US, Canada and Australia where they became successful and affluent. When these people (or their children) returned to Ireland, their obvious success could only have engendered massive jealousy and (unwarranted) resentment. Yes, we were perfectly happy to welcome them and their dollars but surely people quietly seethed. The political class that inherited the Irish Free State most have felt a profound sense of failure that the country was partitioned and very poor which necessitated going to big Irish American businessmen with the begging bowl to solicit funds and investment (American Irish Fund), often the sons of landless peasants. So the elite in this country made condescending disdain for the uncouth Irish American Yank (and often their Republican politics) a sort of culturally acceptable standard. Most of us have relatives abroad, if perhaps second cousins (or more distantly related), but do most of you have any meaningful contact? What would you say to entice them to visit Ireland? I wouldn't know where to start: our fabulous weather, the inexpensive accommodation? Personally, I would be embarrassed to have them over here, particularly with the rampant anti-Americanism.
14 Minutes AgoReplyShare

A decommissioned social commentator takes a wry look at #TheGathering likes this.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

The only thing that you need to listen to on the subject of the gathering. 
It augments Mr Byrne's argument. 
But in a slighly more vehement manner. 
With touches of what the common man might deem poetry. 
If anything will bring anyone to Ireland, it's wit like this. 
Not the witless, dumbed down, sexist drivel that some idiot in Failte Ireland approved in a coked out fervour. 
"Can we get a Chinese angle in on this?" 
Sweet mother of divince act of fornication, how low have we stumbled? 
How abject have we become? 
Do you actually think anyone actually buys into the Enda drivel of being the 'best little country in the world' to come gather in. 
All we need is John Waters dancing with hordes of kids in protective custody at the pyschic crossroads. 
And then we have it. 
Modern Ireland as seen by those it has long left behind. 
We wept. Jesus wept. 
God help us. 
God graciously help us.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

I worked at the Notre Dame American football pep rally, in the O2, and was completely embarrassed at the cynical nature of it. Thousands of fans, who had traveled across the world, attended the rally expecting to experience the world renowned Irish hospitality. Instead they were robbed. Food and drink prices were extortionate and the event it self was pathetic. The sound didn't work for the first minute of a pre-recorded address from Martin Sheen, which rendered the rest of it pointless. Enda Kenny made an appalling speech nearly begging the attendees for their charity and the acts were very average. The look on people's faces when it was over said that they knew they had been conned. I found it hard to look any of them in the eye. Danganbeg likes this.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

heres a wee video I made looking at the gathering "A decommissioned social commentator takes a wry look at #TheGathering"
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

I agree with Gabriel Byrne, I am an expat (versus a pat I suppose), I have lived in Canada for 25 years. I come back to see the parents every year. I do not blame the people here in Ireland for the cynicism and disgruntlement, they were lead astray by the elitist and the powers that be. The taxi driver in Dublin told me his tale of woe and I genuinely felt sorry for him, at the end of his tale of woe he said "we don't say Cead Mile Failte here anymore (to the tourists), we say "give me your money and F*** off"". I was not upset with him, I was mad that a small bunch of people destroyed Ireland and sold the people into slavery.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

damn, there goes my plan for international tayto day (special shamrock edition cheese and onion only 100 quid a bag in NYC)Danganbeg likes this.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

Declan J. Foley
"It was a tremendous achievement what we did in two years. I was really disappointed the way all those contacts, all that hard work was just dropped and it really made me disillusioned and disappointed with this Government who go on about their love for culture for arts and actually really don’t give a toss about it." 
Welcome to the club.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

Top level chugging for Ireland, I guess. If there's one thing worse than being robbed, it's being robbed at a professionally designed event engineered for just that purpose. But I guess we'd be stupid for not shaking that money tree...
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

The cute hoor cynicisim of this 'event' only serves to remind me of one of the main reasons why I left in the first place.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

While agreeing with Gabriel Byrne, I want to suggest an answer to "Tom Tom's" question (praphrased for brevity): "what can any country do for those who have left?" GIVE THEM A VOTE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY. That's what the vast majority of other countries do. Hence, for example, in cities all around the world tonight and tomorrow night US ex-pats will be getting together to witness the results of the voting and electioneering in which they have a constitutional right to participate. What makes us the exception? We know the answer to that, deep down. Peadar O'Donnell said it decades ago: emigration is the safety valve when the social and political pressure for change builds up. "That toinn do rhainnigh chugainn." Yeah. But don't expect reciprocation. Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh and John Tangney like this.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

Declan J. Foley
"...all around the world tonight and tomorrow night US ex-pats will be getting together to witness the results of the voting and electioneering in which they have a constitutional right to participate" because they have paid US taxes. Would you pay tax to the Irish government in exchange for the right to vote? 
Also these US citizens abroad are just that, US citizens, they do not have dual citizenship.Danganbeg likes this.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

John Tangney
Gabriel Byrne is right about the spiritual connection to Ireland that many expats and diasporic descendants feel. I'm more connected to Ireland than to any of the other places I've lived in the past 12 years, and as an Irish passport holder I should be able to pay tax and to vote there. I wouldn't be paying it to a particular government, but to the country, and it wouldn't be so much a commercial exchange, as it would be my obligation as a citizen. As things stand you cease to be a full citizen as soon as you go abroad.
1 Hour AgoShare

Spot on Declan.
43 Minutes AgoShare

We have had lots of gatherings and in fairness all have been remarkable successes. The GAlways races tent, paying people we didn't own money to with money we don't have, self-regulated legal cartels, Haughey, etc, etc. Now where's the bucket, pun not intended! If the cap fits, pun intended! 

As an emigrant I once organised a few to contribute to a local cause, only to find out my local solicitor had been derobed for stealing grant money. 

Let's see how it goes but emigrants don't have a lot of money either, many work in construction and this is always the worst sector in recessionary times everywhere. 

Jazus when you thionk of it, we drove people out of the country and now we want to tap them. The real gathering should be if the vested interests gave back what they took. When we needed to be bailed out, they bailed out themselves, literally!Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh and HughTreacy like this.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

Dam! that IS funny AND true. 
Thanks be to God some people are beginning to see through the bs. likes this.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

Without a doubt the most inspired and pertinent response to this substitution of posing for policy.Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh likes this.
2 Hours AgoReplyShare

John Tangney
2 Hours AgoShare

This is so sad, i love my country (Ireland) after GOD, its the people that make it, living in ireland during the 70's and 80's was the ultimate time of greed with the Garret Fitzgerald and Charles Ha-ha-ee, and now in 2013 someone is standing up and saying something, thirty years later,omg, i want to give Gabriel Byrne a hug and say well done, i too live in america and know exactly where Gabriel Byrne is coming from, unless you walked in his shoes, no one will understand as expatriates how we feel about Ireland, its like looking in a window, but we are on the other side.Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh likes this.
3 Hours AgoReplyShare

The other side is called the modern world.  
And if it wasn't for the greedy, the abject and the patronising, responsible for insult like the gathering, we might all be able to live in the same place.
1 Hour AgoReplyShare

This term 'diaspora' is being bandied about in in an emotive manner and each will have their own perspective on the real meaning. I know no Irish, who are living or working in other countries, who feel abandoned or are not content with their lot. Very few feel the urgent desire or need to return home except for visits. They have generally gone by choice in search of adventure, fortune, better weather or simply out of a need for change. I have met many because I have traveled outside Ireland for four of the last five years. The Gathering sounds like a desperate begging bowl but at least it is something. Why condemn the county for doing nothing, on the one hand, and then condemn when some effort is being made?  
Gabriel Byrne has made some sweeping statements and is very selective in his choice of examples. bassett_brendan likes this.
3 Hours AgoReplyShare

When I was an emigrant fadó fadó was fond of going to Irish bars and alongside other emigrants both recent and much older would sing Ireland's praises to the rafters amongst much mawkish come-all-yizes and beer. Would never hear a bad word said against the place and anyone else was the same. Ireland had a magic then; it was a place we could believe in with some justification that was set apart from other places, that had an history of such suffering and grandeur and a people so storied in art and history and achievement (overseas for the most part admittedly) and set such high standards for Herself with Her moral laws and Constitutions and would surely never do to others what was done unto Her for so long, nor help others do to others what was done unto Her etc.  

Why even Her National Anthem proclaimed that the air of Ireland was so free that no wo/man could breathe it and remain a slave. ''No-o-O MORE our ancient Si-i-reland sha-hall shell-turr the despot nor the slave.'' 

Round about March 2003 all of that started coming apart at the seams when we sold our national soul to the Devil down our Illegal-War-N-Torture-Ports. If you could nod and wink at that, doing that unto others which had been done so long to ourselves, then you could nod and wink at anything. 

And as we see all about us, we did.  

Reckon I'm not the only one feels this way. Yirrah sure we'll see.
3 Hours AgoReplyShare

This highlights some serious communication issues how the Irish Government, civil servants and some commercial interests need to respect ,relate better to and connect more with the different strands of the world wide Irish Diaspora from an position of mutual respect. Despite these negative comments, it is still best to encourage as many people of all nationalities to visit Ireland and support the many local communities on the ground who are making a genuine effort to welcome visitors and make their visit a most enjoyable one. Ultimately the more tourists that visit Ireland, it will help keep people in jobs and help pay their mortgages and reduce emigrationPostIreland likes this.
3 Hours AgoReplyShare