'Vast’ numbers should protest Dublin incinerator, says Irons

Noted actor says people 'Ireland-wide’ should defy establishment of Ringsend waste facility

Jeremy Irons in a scene from his film on waste, Trashed. Speaking at a screening of it  at the inaugural World Actors Forum in Dublin 
on Satur
today, Irons said the will to protest in society diminishes as “life gets easier”.

Jeremy Irons in a scene from his film on waste, Trashed. Speaking at a screening of it at the inaugural World Actors Forum in Dublin on Satur today, Irons said the will to protest in society diminishes as “life gets easier”.

Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 09:07

Actor Jeremy Irons has said “vast” amounts of people should take to the streets in defiance of plans to establish a waste incinerator at Ringsend, believing it to be a national issue that threatens the country.

Speaking at a screening of his film on waste, Trashed, at the inaugural World Actors Forum in Dublin today, Irons said the will to protest in society diminishes as “life gets easier”.

“I would like to scotch this business of ‘you are an environmentalist or you are not’. I think we are all, if we get off our bottoms, environmentalists,” he said.

“Is it just the locals in Ringsend who are fighting [the incinerator] or should it be actually all of Dublin citizens fighting it? My feeling is that it should be a Dublin-wide thing, an Ireland-wide thing.

“I think one has to take to the streets and say no. Vast numbers of people, and say no.”

In a conversation with novelist Joseph O’Connor, Irons spoke almost exclusively about environmental issues and the responsibility of public figures to play their part in raising awareness.

Social issues

Conversely, Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, who had earlier appeared alongside John Boorman - a Wicklow resident and director of such films as Deliverance and The General - said he had been reluctant to speak out publicly on social issues since his scathing critique of Irish hospitals on the Late Late Show in 2006.

“I threw a wobbly on the Late Late Show and I felt completely justified in doing it,” he told an audience at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.

“But the next thing was this plethora of things for about five years where I was more or less asked, when are you going to fix the health system.

“And so I am very conflicted on speaking out about social issues. I try to withdraw from that.”

The two-day forum is featuring a range of panel discussions and conversations with figures from the world of performing arts.

Today’s line-up also included a discussion with director Kirsten Sheridan and actors Kathy Rose O’Brien, Farah Shaer and Penelope Wilton on the role of women in drama.

Opening the inaugural event, Minister for the Arts Jimmy Deenihan invoked the spirits of James Mason, Orson Welles, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, whose work has all played a role in the Gate Theatre’s history.

“There is a really genuine interest in what is being done here,” he said.

“The idea is that this will become the Davos of acting. We have the Davos for economics and I think we should have the Davos for actors as well.”

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