U2’s Edge says he understands anger over Paradise Papers

Criticism of Bono inevitable, says guitarist; sometimes band ‘don’t get nearly enough stick’

U2 guitarist The Edge has said the criticism of Bono over the Paradise Papers and revelations that he used a Malta-based company to invest in a Lithuanian shopping centre was inevitable and that sometimes the band "don't get nearly enough stick".

Speaking at the Trafalgar St James hotel London shortly before the band were to take to a stage Trafalgar Square for a free 7.30pm concert organised by MTV, he said the issue was complex.

“It’s a complicated thing,” he said in response to a question on whether Bono was treated unfairly over the recent revelations broken by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

“We’re wealthy people, you could say it comes with the territory. We are high-profile, sometimes you can feel a little put upon, sometimes you feel like we don’t get nearly enough stick.


‘Lawyers involved’

“We do understand why people are angry with the system as it is, it definitely needs an overhaul. It’s a complex thing, it’s not like one nation can do it on their own ... unfortunately there’s a lot of inaccuracies reported initially and at this point there are lawyers involved, so we will see how that works out.”

The Edge also spoke about anti-Trump sentiment on some songs on their widely anticipated new album, Songs of Experience. "We felt that to ignore it would be just weird – these are the things we care deeply about. People would expect us to step forward," he said.

“Democracy sometimes throws up surprise results, you got to accept the results ... in terms of values and ideals we differ so fundamentally from what President Trump is putting forward, and the sentiments that he’s putting out there and who he’s looking to get support from, it’s fear politics of the most cynical type.

“We don’t necessarily want to get caught up in the resistance to his presidency ... we want to push forward. We feel OK to take him on in certain levels but we are going to keep on ploughing forward with what we believe in.”

Enamel poppy

The Edge was talking to reporters with Adam Clayton at the Trafalgar Hotel in London before the gig. The guitarist was wearing an enamel poppy badge on his lapel to mark Armistice Day in Britain, which is today.

On Sunday night, the band is set to receive the Global Icon award from MTV at the MTV Europe Awards at Wembley. Past recipients include Queen and Whitney Houston.

Tonight they will play eight songs to a 7,000-strong crowd who won free tickets in a ballot. Two songs from tonight’s gig will be played at that event.

London mayor Sadiq Khan had described the gig, which will also feature David Guetta, as a "once in a lifetime event ... I have been saying loud and clear that London is open to talent, creativity and business. What better way to showcase this than one of the world's greatest rock bands performing to Londoners from all backgrounds, for free, in the heart of our great city?"

Róisín Ingle

Róisín Ingle

Róisín Ingle is an Irish Times columnist, feature writer and coproducer of the Irish Times Women's Podcast