One of Ireland's most famous Hollywood exports held no punches when speaking about his home country in a recent interview.
Walkinstown actor Gabriel Byrne, known for his roles in 'The Usual Suspects', 'Stigmata', and of course that one episode of 'Glenroe', is making headlines for speaking openly on a number of sensitive yet thoroughly important subjects.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian, Byrne sat down with journalist Catherine Shoard in order to discuss his career, his homeland, and his opinions on masculinity. The interview with the 70-year-old is being spread wide and far online for all of his honesty.
After making accurate predictions of how the US election would go down this past week - a month before the results started to trickle through - Byrne turned his attention to how he tried to overcome his sexually abusive past. He wrote about his abuse in his new 2020 memoir, entitled 'Walking With Ghosts'.
He told the publication: "For many years, I really thought I was the only one. The freedom it gave me to be able to say: 'Me, too. I was assaulted, too'.
"There’s a kind of an unspoken acceptance of the idea that sex against girls is kind of the real assault. The violation of women is what you should pay attention to. There’s a shame about men speaking out. A sense that if you were abused, it was your own fault. Men are not supposed to talk about their feelings. Men have to be strong and men don’t cry."
The Catholic church, Pope Francis, and the religion's hold over Ireland were other topics which the actor wished to focus on: "It’s supposed to be a church of love and yet to deny his love to its priests? It’s incomprehensible that you would say to a man or a woman: 'You can’t have a partner. You can’t be in love with anybody'.
"It still makes me angry. The church still controls education in Ireland. And it’s an obscenity to tell innocent children they’re going to go to hell for taking sixpence out of their mother’s purse.
"He’s [Pope Francis] done absolutely nothing to address the real issues of child sexual abuse or the role of women or divorce or birth control. It’s a corporation and the CEO can’t turn it around. And they’d never elect someone unless their thinking was known."
The actor also laid out the myth that Ireland has a chronic drinking problem - which is presumed by many countries due to our famous alcoholic exports. At 23 years sober, Byrne said on the topic that "wild horses wouldn’t get me into a bar these days".
You can read the full interview here.