Liam Neeson stated ‘we cannot mess up’ Brexit in ‘concern’ Ireland would be hit worst

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The Taken actor, 68, is on The Graham Norton Show tonight alongside his son Micheál Richardson to promote their new film Made In Italy. The Amazon Prime flick sees them play a bereaved father and son struggling to deal with grief. The film is eerily similar to Neeson’s own experiences as his wife Natasha Richardson died 12 years ago in a “freak skiing accident”.

Neeson, who was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, moved to the US after his acting career took off and has now been there for 30 years.

During that time, he assembled an impressive film portfolio after starring in blockbuster franchises including Taken, Star Wars and Batman.

Now based in New York, Neeson is 3,100 miles away from his hometown but admitted he still kept an eye on politics there.

He jokingly told The Journal that he could “talk about” Government affairs “all night if you want”.

Neeson’s quip came in response to the Irish publication saying they “would not be grilling him about politics”.

To their surprise, the actor was more than willing to weigh in on a few subjects including Brexit. 

In 2018, The Journal wrote: “Liam Neeson is not short of opinions.”

They noted that he was “happy to discuss what’s happening in the world” and particularly the effect for Northern Ireland. 

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Neeson raised concern about “the dissolution of the middle class” in the US and felt it was “the same in Britain too”.

He claimed to have read about the socio-economic group being blended into the working class “every day” before going onto Brexit.

Neeson said: “Of course, we’re all still worried about Brexit and what’s going to happen.”

He reiterated that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union had an effect on everyone. 

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In the 2016 referendum, 52 percent of the UK, more than 17.4 million people, voted for Brexit.

Neeson said “the middle class” and “all of us” are concerned about the aftermath of the decision to Leave.

He added: “That had a reverberation for me, you know.”

Neeson was particularly concerned for Northern Ireland, where the majority did not vote for Brexit.

In Northern Ireland, 55.8 percent the public voted Remain and 44.2 percent cast their ballot for Leave.

Similarly, Scotland voted Remain by 62 percent and 38 percent chose Leave. 

Meanwhile, England and Wales cast their ballot for Brexit, with 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent respectively.  

Neeson felt Northern Ireland was “a concern” especially “with what’s happened with Brexit” and “the British Cabinet”.

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He was worried that his home nation may bear the brunt of Brexit, particularly in their film and TV industry.

Shows including Game Of Thrones, Line Of Duty, The Fall and Derry Girls have all been filmed in Northern Ireland. 

When asked outright if Neeson “feared the impact of Brexit” on the film industry, he replied: “Of course!”

He raised concern that the decision to leave could lead to fewer people visiting Northern Ireland. 

Neeson said: “My driver today was telling me there are 56 cruises booked for next year (2019) to land in Belfast.

“Chinese [people], Asians, all these extraordinary countries want to come and see where Game Of Thrones was shot.”

He warned that Brexit would have a “trickle-down effect to every job” and “every industry in the north of Ireland and indeed the rest of Ireland”.

Neeson believed Northern Ireland stood to lose out “especially now the world knows about us” through TV shows and films.

Speaking about the future, he cautioned: “We’ve got to work on that, build on it, we cannot mess it up.”

Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson star on The Graham Norton Show, which airs at 10.55pm tonight on BBC One.

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