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

First of all, it’s hard to write about Irish actor Gabriel Byrne’s recent comments regarding The Gathering without trying to make a joke about how he has his “usual suspects” about the whole thing. So, to begin with, congratulations to me for not doing that.

Next, let’s address the comments in question. Speaking recently on "The Last Word with Matt Cooper" he said that people think that The Gathering is a 'scam', a sort of roguish endeavour that would be comparable to a group of criminals robbing a ship in San Pedro Bayafter being blackmailed by Keyser Söze.

However, there are as many opinions on The Gathering as there are on who 
Keyser Söze really is.

It’s a tourism initiative to have those who are or love the Irish return here in 2013, an initiative that is not being dictated by a governing body, merely enabled and supported by it. Like any group exercise, the outcome and results of it will be determined by the desire and input of the people involved. When those of us involved in The Gathering Dublin originally looked at what South Dublin County had to offer, it became very obvious that the answer was sports. We have Tallaght Stadium, which just won the Airtriciy League Pitch of the Year. We also have the NationalBasketball Arena, which you may have seen when its games are broadcast on the Setanta Sports TV channel. We have cricket grounds, football pitches, cycling tracks, fisheries, baseball diamonds…clearly, that’s a lot of sporting options.

So that’s what we’ve focused on, 25 tournaments in South Dublinwhere teams from around the world can come here to Meet to Compete. We’ve had teams already confirm from some such sports as High School American Football, Cricket and Baseball and we’re still looking for more teams to compete. And once we unveil the details of our golf tournament no doubt Gabriel Byrne (he played Dean Keaton in a little movie starring Kevin Spacey) will be looking for an invitation.

Because as far as I can see, he didn’t say HE thought it was a scam. Just that others do. And if the whole thing is a success, why, I am sure that the two years he spent as our ambassador will have been a huge help. “And then the greatest trick Gabriel Byrne will have ever pulled was convincing the world those comments didn’t exist.”

I’m paraphrasing a line there from a movie he was in. I think it was called Into The West, it was very good, you should check it out.

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