Breen takes issues with Byrne’s comments on the GATHERING 2013

November 6th, 2012 - Pat Breen

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade & Clare TD Pat Breen has taken issue with Irish Actor Gabriel Byrne’s comments when he described the Gathering 2013 as a “Scam”.

“I was very disappointed and annoyed to hear Gabriel Byrne describe the Gathering 2013 as a ‘scam’ and I was astonished to hear him describe the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech in launching the initiative as ‘offensive’.

His comments are in stark contrast to the feedback I receive daily since this initiative was launched. As Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade I have occasion to meet and discuss issues of concern with our Irish communities abroad and particularly in the United States where I have found that there is a renewed sense of optimism and hope about the future of Ireland.

Following a number of official engagements by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the US to promote the Gathering 2013, I have received numerous telephone calls and emails of support. It is clear from the response from people in the United States that the Taoiseach’s message resonated very well and not alone are people very excited about the Gathering 2013, the Taoiseach’s visits have also reignited interest among business people in locating new investments here.

The Gathering 2013 is a unique opportunity for this Country to promote out tourism Industry. Every year On St Patrick’s Day, the World turns green to celebrate with Ireland, next year we are extending this celebration for the entire year. We have a lot to be proud of in this Country, we have a wealth of top tourist destinations; a long and proud culture and an Irish Music Tradition which is the envy of many. It is only right and proper that we promote and showcase the very best that this Country has to offer.

The Gathering 2013 will be a major boost for tourism particularly here in County Clare, where tourism and tourism related business are the lifeblood of our communities. The announcements and indications from Airlines that they intend to extend their services and capacity into Shannon Airport next summer is a testament to the interest there already is in travelling here from the United States next year. United Airlines are set to introduce a direct Chicago Service next summer and yesterday, transatlantic business for 2013 at Shannon Airport was further boosted by the announcement from US Airways that are to operate a direct Philadephia/Shannon service for the Summer.

The Gathering presents an unprecedented opportunity for Clare Tourism to showcase the very best of what County Clare has to offer. Communities and families across Clare have already embraced the initiative with plans for numerous events next year well advanced.

The Gathering 2013 is aimed at connecting our Communities locally into our Irish Communities abroad, an opportunity to celebrate our Irishness and to showcase the very best of what Ireland has to offer, not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but all year round. It is a very worthwhile initiative, and from the positive feedback that I am receiving from our global Irish Diaspora, it is an initiative, which is going to be a major success.”