Irish acting star, Gabriel Byrne has announced he is to step down from his role as Ireland’s cultural ambassador at the end of this year.

Speaking to the Irish Times, he said he was assessing his role, which was supposed to last three years. The acting legend said it was difficult to balance his commitment to the role with his career.

“I will probably be resigning this year because I just don’t have the time between my career and that,” he said.
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Speaking about when he would step down he said Christmas “will be the end product”

“I wanted to go out with a statement that was personal to me about the Ireland of the last 50-60 years. That’s really what attracted me to this play as well I think. it’s a profound piece of theatre.”

“I essentially did this work for free,” he says of his role as cultural ambassador, “because I believe in it.”

Byrne recently made his debut as a theater director in the James X , a play that opened on Friday night in New York at  the Culture Project theatre.

Produced by Liam Neeson, written and performed by Gerard Mannix Flynn, the semi-autobiographical one man show, see’s Flynn give an account of the physical and sexual abuse experienced in church run institutions.

“I think that one of the most important stories in recent years in Ireland has been the issues that are brought up in this play – ie the scandal of child abuse in Ireland, as it transpires now and over the last 50 to 60 years,” Byrne said.

“The story of Mannix is really the alternative narrative,” he said. “It’s not The Quiet Man , it’s not Riverdance , it’s not U2.”

The show runs through to Sunday the 18 of December, you can purchase tickets here.