Irish actor Gabriel Byrne backtracked on his criticism of “The Gathering,” admitting his description of the tourism initiative as a “shakedown” may have been "too strong a word."

The “In Treatment” star made headlines last November when he described The Gathering 2013 initiative as 'a scam.'

Speaking during a radio interview with Today FM Byrne said: “People are sick to death of being asked to help out in what they regard as a scam.”

Read More: Actor Gabriel Byrne slams The Gathering as ‘a scam‘ aimed at gullible Americans

The Dublin-born-actor, who previously served as Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador, said he stands over the majority of his remarks.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he expressed dismay that his remarks got such a big reaction.

"I wouldn't take back anything that I said. I have lived in America since 1987, I understand how complex that group of people is," Bryne said in reference to the Irish diaspora.

"What I was saying was, 'This is the reaction that I have received about The Gathering.'

"They're an incredibly complex group. Emigrants have a tremendous spiritual connection to this country. If you're going to have a relationship with the diaspora, you have to nurture it, you have to take care of it, you have to tend it, you have to pay attention to it."

Read More: The Gathering Dublin responds to Gabriel Byrne's 'scam' remarks


Irish actor and former ambassador for culture, Gabriel Byrne, called The Gathering a "scam"Time Out