Hands off our IRISH Talent!

Saoirse Ronan is one of our own, and a talented one at that…so back off Britain!

The wonderful Ms. Brenda Fricker, a talented and much-respected Irish actress, a lovely lady and an animal lover who helped me out when I worked in animal welfare in Dublin, giving generously of her time at a major awareness and fund-raising event I organised, once famously remarked during an interview…in a jocular manner I have to say, “When you’re lying drunk at the airport, the papers say you’re Irish. When you win an Oscar, they claim you’re British.”

  And so, when your columnist, a proud Irish woman, heard those scandalous and treacherous words…“We can take her as one of our own,” declared by Sky journo Richard Suchet earlier this week as he name-checked IRISH actress Saoirse Ronan (who already has a Golden Globe nomination under her belt), during an announcement where the BAFTA candidates were nominated for ‘Leading Actress’ in a film, of whom this fair and talented cailín is one; I angrily spun in circles round the sitting room like a very confused one-legged river dancer.

  Er, no I think you’ll find that you absolutely won’t, because Saoirse is NOT British, she is IRISH!

  This claim has become an all too frequent ‘mistake’ by some factions of the British media who continue to claim our Irish talent to be ‘one of their own.’ However, missing the enormous opportunity to apologise and then shut the hell up and go away, even when our national broadcaster RTE rowed in on the debacle by saying ‘@SkyNews you can’t be claiming our #SaoirseRonan as a British actress #Brooklyn #BAFTAS;’ Sky’s Suchet, who was now about to fall off Mount Ego and drop into a massive puddle of his own smugness, while the conversation continued and he agreed that yes, Ms. Ronan is indeed Irish, then disgracefully came back like a petulant two year old with ‘@RTE_TEN of course she is. But many Brits will see her as one of their own. It’s a consequence of geography. A compliment I’d say.’ A compliment???  Cheeky fecker!

  Do some British hacks and journos feel their country lacks a local, home grown, pool of raw talent they need to claim ours as their ‘own’ or is it just a case of there are two types of people in this world…those who are Irish and those who really, really, really, wanna be Irish and does Suchet fall into the latter category?

  Look, to be perfectly technical here, Saoirse (meaning Freedom, and, depending on what region of Ireland you come from is pronounced either Sir-shuh, Sear-sha, or as the lady herself helpfully displayed on a sandwich board sign she wore whilst appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show Sur-Sha) is a beautiful name whose pronunciation has been massacred across the world, was in fact born in New York to Dublin parents (for the purpose of educating Mr. Suchet, Dublin is in Ireland), and, as mammy and daddy Ronan returned to Ireland (again not Britain), when Saoirse was but a toddler, she was raised in Dublin and Carlow, (again, Ireland, not Britain).  

  Ah yes readers, it seems everyone wants a piece of the Irish action, sure wasn’t it only last month that the London Critics’ Circle was forced to make a hasty change to their film nominations following their claims that Saoirse, Michael Fassbender and Colin Farrell were all ‘British.’ Now ok, technically folks, Fassbender is half-German; he was also born there and his mammy is from Antrim but he’s grown up in Killarney, which is in Kerry and his accent is distinctively Irish so he’s ours Mr. Suchet…ya hear me, OURS!!!

  In addition, it was only a mere short while ago the BBC outrageously jumped on Dubliner Conor McGregor’s bandwagon when a report stated that ‘McGregor, 26, won in Las Vegas to become the first UFC champion from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland,” And there’s more evidence, when, back during the 2012 Olympics, the Daily Telegraph asked the question: “Can anyone beat Britain’s Katie Taylor, the most technically proficient attacking boxer in the world?” Now I have to say the Daily Telegraph, upon being taken to task by annoyed Irish fans, did graciously apologise for their faux pas but still, I have to ask doesn’t anybody school the Brits in the clear difference that is the geographical border between Ireland and the UK? Seriously lads, where can I send the map?

  Look, at the risk of repeating myself this week, but for the benefit of Mr. Suchet, this year we, the proud and patriotic Irish, celebrate the centenary of our Rising; yes, you remember that tedious little Rebellion that took place back in 1916 when you chappies were bogged down fighting in Europe? You promised us Home Rule but had to put it on hold due to the outbreak of WW1. Ah yes, now the penny drops. Well Richard…or may I call you Dick? After all, according to you we’re all cosily, warmly, er, related; despite the fact we both love Sir Terry Wogan, (who is an Irish TV and radio broadcaster, but who has, I’ll give you, worked and lived most of his life in the UK), we divorced you a long, long time ago yet you’re still making out that we’re an item! We’re not; get over it!

  Now don’t get me wrong here, not all British people like to lay claim to Irish talent and success stories as their own, it’s just the odd few…Mr Suchet (Dick), being one of them; and I really do like our UK neighbours and have huge respect for them, they’re genuinely good and nice people. In fact I’m very much in love with one particular Brit, I also have many wonderful British friends, some of whom I have made right here in Roscommon; so please don’t think I’m being critical of all UK citizens living in our fair and green land or living across the globe or indeed in the their own country, because I’m not. You’re fabulous people. A great nation.

  I just hate it when Irish citizens appear to be summoned (by a few), to the Union Jack when indeed it’s the sole right of Ireland alone, our nation, our country, to summon her men and women to the Tricolour, which, by the way, (and here’s a little history lesson for ya Dick), was first publicly flown in Waterford City in March of 1848 by the then leader of The Young Irelanders, Thomas Francis Meagher.

  So please, for the love of God and St. Patrick and all the generations of proud Irish men and Irish women; celebrity, military, civilian or otherwise, while we know the British media likes to be all inclusive, I would request that they stop showing their ignorance, do their research and kindly desist from stapling their Union Jack to our people!

  I’m sure Mr. Suchet thinks it’s quite flattering and we thank him most sincerely for his kind interest in us, go raibh maith agat Dick, but, how can I say this with a stiff upper lip…back off will ya!