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Eugene Downes, Gabriel Byrne, Mary Hanafin, Colum McCann, Christine Quinn at the launch of Imagine Ireland

Gabriel Byrne says Irish have a ‘right to feel betrayed’

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Eugene Downes, Gabriel Byrne, Mary Hanafin, Colum McCann, Christine Quinn at the launch of Imagine Ireland

READ MORE- 400 Irish arts events for United States

Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador Gabriel Byrne has stated that young Irish people have a right to feel betrayed by what has happened in Ireland.

“People have been betrayed and they have a right to be angry,” he told IrishCentral.

He was speaking at the launch of the Imagine Ireland campaign in New York, which will see 400 Irish acts play throughout the United States in 2011.

He stated that although political reality has failed the majority of young people, art will play a vital role in Ireland’s future.

Speaking at the launch on Friday,  Byrne acknowledged that many Irish people have been let down by our current Government, but that art can help get Ireland through the tough times.

“What art can do is it can free you in your head, to go to places that are outside your street, your town, your house. Art is about hope and change and optimism and it’s about telling the truth and maybe if we tell the truth, we can change that system so that our children don’t have to go through the same betrayal.”

“Art must be active, it must be political, it must ask questions, it must get people fired up, because I don’t think politics can do that, nor religion anymore."

Speaking about restoring Ireland’s global public image, Mr Byrne was adamant that the world of arts was never dis-empowered. He said art can play an important role in helping us reflect on the grander scheme of things.

“(art)can help us look at the big picture and what do we expect from politicians, what do we expect from our political system. How angry should we be? What do we need to do to change?

“Well the artist can ask those questions, because quite honestly politicians don’t ask them. So art can be a real reflection of how people feel.”

The actor also admitted that he was a big fan of the Irish comedy duo The Rubberbandits’ single “Horse Outside”, which became a global viral hit over the holidays.

“It’s really wonderfully done, it’s cut beautifully, it says something, it makes a comment , it’s visually interesting and you could show in Philadelphia or Sydney and people would get it”.

Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador revealed that he forwarded the clip onto several friends.

“Ya, I sent it on to everybody,” he told Irish Central.

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