Gabriel Byrne and the Gathering 'shakedown'
Disagree with Byrne
Nobody is forced to emigrate and only those with serious cash can afford the process involved in emigration.
The logistics involve a fair cash outlay and real skills, and the genuine poor do not have these skills or money to simply move to some other nation.
I recall many such efforts like The Gathering over the six decades I have lived through. They come and go and if they help tourism so be it!
Ultimately the more tourists that visit Ireland, it will help keep people in jobs and help pay their mortgages and reduce emigration
Gabriel Byrne’s comments are arrogant and opinionated. Who is he to say that “the bridge” between the Irish islanders and the Irish diaspora is broken?
The Irish media regularly reports on diasporic links, and runs documentaries on the Irish abroad – not to mention the countless Irish regularly in contact with the Irish abroad?
Byrne’s tirade just shows what a poor choice he was as cultural ambassador.
These comments are the most concentrated whine-and-whinge session I have read in this paper for some time. No one is forcing people to visit Ireland, it’s just a suggestion.
Person behind the comment
“As a volunteer with Ireland Reaching Out, I have a very different experience of what the Gathering means. Thousands of us throughout the world are working to meet the diaspora as they search for their roots. Our commitment will not end in December 2013.”
Born to Irish parents in London, Martine Brennan grew up in Ireland, but went to London in the 1980s and lived there for 10 years. She returned to Co Kerry whenshe was expecting her first child.
Brennan is a volunteer with Ireland Reaching Out, which helps people abroad to find their Irish roots. The organisation is building parish databases to help people around the world find connections back in Ireland. Brennan herself has benefited from the voluntary service, connecting with a cousin based in the US.
She welcomes the general idea of the Gathering (“It’s wonderful to invite people home. People often feel disconnected and don’t feel welcome”), but is concerned about its money-making motive.Other opinions
Few Irish abroad feel desire to return home
This term “diaspora” is being bandied about 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.
The Gathering sounds like a desperate begging bowl, but at least it is something. Why condemn the country for doing nothing, on the one hand, and then condemn when some effort is being made?
– James O’Sullivan
I have a lot of respect for Gabriel Byrne as an actor. I have very little respect for people who put Ireland down. Some would say paying money to see people strut around a stage or a screen set is a scam. Yet we do so all the time.
– Michael O’Neill