Michael Ring, Ireland's Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, has said that Gabriel Byrne's negative comments about 'The Gathering' were "unpatriotic."

"I didn't like his comments. I felt it was unpatriotic. I felt that he could have put the green jersey on this one," said Ring, who was speaking at the launch of a website promoting walking holidays in Co Sligo.

Byrne had dismissed The Gathering 2013 initiative as "a scam." According to the Irish Independent, the actor, who had previously served as Ireland's cultural ambassador in the US, said that many Irish who had emigrated to the US felt abandoned by Ireland.

While Ring concedes that he agrees with some of the issues raised by Byrne, it was now time to "move on."

"Gabriel Byrne has been a good ambassador for Ireland. He's a well-known personality and he made his comments.

"But in all fairness to him, I don't think anybody in the country can say now they don't know what The Gathering is," he said.

Actor Gabriel ByrneIndependent.ie