Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has been speaking at the Irish Global Economic Forum about the importance of utilising Ireland’s cultural and artistic assets as part of the ongoing efforts to revive the Irish economy. The event, established following Ireland’s bailout, allows high-profile Irish diaspora from diverse fields as well as leading political figures to put forward new strategies for Ireland’s economic recovery.
Speaking to Reuters, Byrne affirmed his belief in the power of Ireland’s artistic reputation in improving the prospects of Irish companies seeking economic success abroad: ‘I think artists lay out the carpet before businessmen, whether businessmen like to admit it or not,’ he said, speaking in the courtyard of Dublin Castle. ‘You can’t quantify the benefit of culture and art and drama and education in harsh, cold economic terms but in the long term there is no question about it whatsoever’: ‘Without Yeats, Synge, O’Casey, Joyce, Heaney and U2’ he explained, ‘the profile of Ireland would be much, much poorer’.
Byrne has acted as the Irish cultural ambassador to the United States since 2009 in a bid to improve relations between the two countries in the fields of art and culture. This new role forms part of a wider initiative by the Irish government with the aim of using Ireland’s cultural and artistic achievements to boost its ailing economy.
Words: Maddie Bates © Artlyst 2011