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Special Relationship

'Suddenly everything just exploded' - Bonnie Greer on sticking up for Ireland on the BBC

The US-born writer said the reaction to her comments


WRITER BONNIE GREER has described the reaction she’s received from Ireland for her comments on BBC’s Question Time as “very moving”.

US-born Greer, who is from Chicago but has lived in the UK for 30 years, told the audience at the political programme that “Ireland owes the UK nothing” over Brexit.

A clip of her comments subsequently went viral and has drawn much praise from Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Ray D’Arcy show last night, Greer said of the reaction:

I just said something that I thought everybody knew. Basically don’t mess with Ireland. And that Ireland is very important to the United States. And suddenly just everything exploded and I was really surprised as I thought everyone knew that.

Greer said that she chooses not to have any apps on her phone and therefore didn’t know her comments had drawn such a response until the next day when she was in a train station in Liverpool.

I was in Starbucks and drinking my coffee, and I realised that these people staring at me and I thought ‘oh I’ve done something horrible’. So I walked out on to the concourse, and people wanted to take pictures with me.And then I looked at my Twitter and it just kind of exploded, and I still don’t totally understand it, but it’s been lovely.

“And I’ve gotten letters from people, handwritten letters,” she added.

“It’s very emotional for people to write to you in their hand and they tell me stories about being in the UK as an Irish person, and what they feel about the country, how important the country is to them, it’s very moving and you feel responsible in a way.”

Greer said that the ‘special relationship’ between the US and Ireland is far more real than that between the US and the UK and that she was surprised that people did not understand this.

The writer said her visit to Dublin is her first and that it’s been very special in the wake of the reaction this week. 

“I was at the lovely, lovely Abbey Theatre today, and it was an amazing experience for me as a playwright, that’s one of the holiest of holy to be there. And this guy walked up to me and just put something on my lapel, I didn’t wear it, because I didn’t know what it was and he said ‘you gotta wear this, you gotta wear this’. So it’s been emotional.”

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