Controversial Irish deputy Richard Boyd Barrett has confirmed that the American-based theatre director Vincent Dowling was his biological father.
The People Before Profit member of the Irish parliament paid tribute to the director who died in Massachusetts last week at the age of 83.
Actress Sinead Cusack gave birth to the deputy after a romance with Dowling when they worked together at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
Boyd Barrett was subsequently adopted by the architect David Boyd Barrett and his wife Valerie.
The anti-austerity politician confirmed Dowling as his father in an interview with the Sunday Independent newspaper.
He said: “I can confirm that Vincent Dowling was my biological father. We made contact a few years ago. He contacted me. It had gotten out there, hadn’t it? And he put two and two together.
“He called me. I’m not exactly sure how long ago it was, my memory on this is a little vague. It was around three or four years ago.
“He lived in America but we had a relationship and I’m in touch with my sisters there. I was aware that he was ill. I’m very sad today and my sisters are very sad.”
Boyd Barrett was previously reconciled with his biological mother, actress Sinead Cusack, in 2007.
She has also confirmed that Vincent Dowling was her son’s Barrett’s biological father.
She said: “I’m simply not going to talk about my relationship with Vincent except to say that we were in the Abbey together and I had a huge amount of admiration for him and a great deal of affection for him.”
Dowling met Cusack in the early stages of her career at the Abbey. There was a 19 year age gap between them.
Boyd Barrett told the Sunday Independent that his relationship with Dowling was not as close as the one he forged with Cusack.
He said: “He lived in America – in Massachusetts – so it wasn’t possible to have that close a relationship. And also he was much older so travelling was difficult for him. But we got on very well.”
Boyd Barrett admitted he was always curious to meet his birth mother but said that he was ‘not sure’ if he would have sought Dowling out.
He added: “I wouldn’t have wanted to have interfered in his life but I was saved that decision by him contacting me and that was fine.
“It is a sad day today. Vincent was a man of theatre and I think that’s how he’d want to be remembered.”
Dowling is famously credited with discovering the film star Tom Hanks after giving the actor his first union job at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio. He won a prestigious Emmy Award for his television adaptation of JM Synge’s The Playboy Of The Western World.