Ronan Keating has denied that he has a "slightly edgy relationship with Ireland", telling Ray D'Arcy on RTÉ Radio 1: "I'm very proud of where I come from, and I fly the flag wherever I go."
The Boyzone singer-turned-solo star was on RTÉ Radio 1 to raise awareness of the Concert4Cancer in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation this Friday on Virgin Media One at 9:00pm when talk turned to his relationship with his home country.
"The last time I spoke to you must be about 10 years ago," said the host. "But I've got a sense - and maybe I'm completely wrong, Ronan - that you have a sort of a... not a fractious, but a slightly edgy relationship with Ireland. Do you?"
"Ah, I wouldn't say that," Keating replied. "I mean, there's been times when Boyzone, as a band, we found it difficult because of the way certain things happen. But no, I love Ireland. My kids, my older kids are still there and I go back whenever I can and it's a very special country for me. It's my home; it's where I'm from, it's my blood. You know, my roots are there. And my brothers and my sister are there, my nephews and nieces, and whenever I can be there, I'm there. I love it, absolutely."
"Sometimes it's hard to be successful in your own country, and I think that's the world over," he continued. "I think there might have been a little bit... people may have thought we or I got too big for our boots or whatever it may be in time. And fine - that's ok if people think that. I don't think we did, but it's easy to see why people would think that, and maybe that's why people clash. And then a little bit of 'Tall Poppy Syndrome' is always difficult. Around the world it happens, whether you're in the UK or in Australia or wherever."
"The 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'?" asked D'Arcy.
"Yeah, they call it 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'," Keating explained. "The begrudgery. When people do very well, they don't want any poppy to grow taller than the rest. It happens, it's ok, I don't... I guess maybe when I was younger I found it difficult, but I get it, and I'm fine. You know, I'm very proud of where I come from, and I fly the flag wherever I go, Ray, trust me."
The Concert4Cancer will see Keating joined by Gary Barlow, Riverdance, the Mount Sion Choir, Gavin James, The Coronas, Lisa Lambe and more to raise funds for the charity he established in honour of his late mother, Marie.
Don't take our word for it @GaryBarlow wants you to tune in this Fri Aug 28th 9pm for #Concert4Cancer to watch him perform w/lots of other amazing musicians, & who are we to argue w/a music legend? 🎵 Brought to you by the @permanenttsb Community Fund pic.twitter.com/jgKUE9Ympk— Marie Keating Foundation (@MarieKeating) August 24, 2020
"Like so many other charities in the country, we haven't been able to fundraise at all since Covid kicked in," Keating told D'Arcy.
"We're not government-funded, so [the] Marie Keating Foundation have been struggling. We've had to, obviously, take our units off the road and our nurses haven't been able to work and the foundation has been at a halt pretty much, like so many other charities.
"So the team in the background have just been working tirelessly, putting different ideas together to try and fundraise, and they came up with this concept to do a concert online or, you know, on TV. We've been working on it now for four months - three-and-a-half-months - and it's just expanded into this incredible night of entertainment on Friday night."