SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]
July 18, 2022
By Alison O' Reilly
Actor Gabriel Byrne has said he has “not completely healed “ from growing up in Dublin despite leaving Ireland as a young man.
The Hollywood star, 72, added that he is still coming to terms with sexual abuse, a repressive Ireland and a tough working-class background.
The father-of-three said: “They [the Church] dealt in fear and humiliation. Some of that goes deep inside you and takes a long time to get rid of – the fear of the world, the uncertainty of life and your place with it.”
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Born in 1950 in Walkinstown, Co Dublin, the performer is best known for his role in The Usual Suspects. In 2010, he revealed had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a child, and then by another cleric in the seminary he attended in Liverpool aged 11.
In an interview with the Observer newspaper yesterday, he said he still relives his trauma. Byrne added: “The priest’s breath was sour and hot as he moved towards me. Then there was blackness.”
He has previously spoken about his battle with alcoholism describing it as “a major national and cultural problem”.
The star, who found fame in Irish drama The Riordans, said: “It’s only lately that I have begun to reconcile myself to Ireland and to myself when I left there. That has not been completely healed.”
However, he said moving to London was a huge change in his life. He added: “When you leave a place to which you belong, which I did, you leave behind your essential self in many ways.
“You have to join the culture that you have gone to and in doing so, shut down that other part of yourself, that deep connection with home. And, after a while you realise that you can’t go back. There is no return.”