Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia

Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, the noted English actor and Irish resident, raised eyebrows this week whilst doing the press rounds to promote the second season of the hit show The Borgias in which he plays the corrupt Pope Alexander VI.

'Most people are robust,' he told Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE). 'If a man puts his hand on a woman's bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It's communication. Can't we be friendly?'

The Oscar winner (for Reversal of Fortune) said that there was too much legislation governing such matters.

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'It's gone too far,' said the 62-year-old thesp. 'There are too many people in power with too little to do, so they churn out laws to justify their jobs. I hope it's a rash that will wear itself out.'

Irons, who is married to the Irish actress Sinead Cusack also spoke about his private life. 'Lack of privacy is faintly aggravating, particularly if you have a salacious private life, which I hope most people have. We only live once.'

'There are newspaper gossip girls who chat you up at parties when you're in your cups and should be at home. And there it is the next day on the breakfast table,' he added.