Gabriel Byrne’s shakedown of the Irish tourism initiative The Gathering has helped attract visitors to Ireland, according to one of its directors.

The Hollywood actor made headlines last year when he described The Gathering as a sham during an interview in New York with Irish radio station Today Fm.

“People are sick to death of being asked to help out in what they regard as a scam,” Byrne said at the time.

The Evening Herald reports that Project Director of The Gathering Jim Miley told a Marketing Society members' breakfast in the St Stephen's Green Hibernian Club in Dublin that the actor's disparaging remarks did Irish tourism a favor.

However Miley, a former General Secretary of Fine Gael, said Byrne’s remarks were disrespectful to the Irish Prime Minister.

A former cultural ambassador to Ireland, Byrne described Prime Minister Enda Kenny's speech launching The Gathering as 'offensive.'

Miley, the project director of the Irish tourism initiative, gave a briefing on the Gathering and how it’s working  to sell Ireland abroad.

The Irish tourism initiative kicked off with a New Year’s Eve Festival in Dublin. It  aims to attract an additional 350,00 tourists to Ireland in 2013.


Irish actor Gabriel ByrneCarlo Allegri