Sunday 24 February 2019

'It's amazing to be able to spread this message'

Ireland's Eurovision delegation arrive in Dublin Airport with RTE's Marty Whelan yesterday
Ireland's Eurovision delegation arrive in Dublin Airport with RTE's Marty Whelan yesterday

Ryan O'Shaughnessy has said the final Eurovision scoreboard isn't the most important result for him - he's proud his message of inclusivity has been spread around the world.

Ireland finished 16th in Saturday night's final, the country's best Eurovision result in seven years.

The singer caused controversy in some parts of the world after he decided he wanted a same-sex couple to dance to the song's love story.

China censored the performance of the song in the semi-final, after which the country was banned from broadcasting the final.

While Ryan said it was "disappointing Ireland didn't get the points we really wanted", he added that spreading his message globally is a victory in itself.

"It's been amazing to be able to spread this message we have around Europe, one of the biggest things we wanted to do was push a message of inclusivity and that love is love," Ryan said.

"I've been energised by everything that's happened around the performance and the messages of support we've been receiving from around the world."

He also thanked the Irish public for backing him throughout the week.

"I think Ireland is the best country in the world. We've become a leading liberal country over the last few years," he said.

"I think when there's a good news story Irish people love to get behind it. The support I received has really driven me on for the week."

He added that now the contest is finished, he's looking forward to spending time with his family back in Skerries in north Dublin.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my grandparents and spending some time with my girlfriend," he said.


"I can't wait to get back to my little studio and go down to Skerries beach and watch the sea."

He also hasn't ruled out a second attempt. "We'll see," he said, coyly.

Meanwhile, former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan said he thinks Ryan did the country proud with his performance.

Charlie and Paul Harrington won the Song Contest in 1994 with Rock 'n' Roll Kids, giving Ireland our third consecutive win at the time.

"Ryan O'Shaughnessy impressed me so much. Just a beautiful song and I think he did us proud," Charlie said.

"The Eurovision is a much-maligned television programme but where else could you find 43 countries to come together and sing every year?

"It's all about coming together and singing and Ryan really did us proud. I had fingers and toes crossed for him to win."

Charlie thought Ireland's entry was in good hands with Ryan, who has been performing for several years, including a stint on Britain's Got Talent in 2012.

"He is a seasoned professional. He knows he did the country proud and we all got a great kick out of it," he told Sunday With Miriam on RTE Radio 1.

Thinking back to his own experience in Eurovision, Charlie advised all future entrants to make sure they enjoy their time on the stage as it is so fleeting.

"Just enjoy it because the three minutes will go by and if you haven't enjoyed it, what about it?" he said.

"Paul and myself were so proud just to be saying, we represented the country at something here. It was like our World Cup.

"Paul and myself hadn't met prior to Eurovision. Of course we didn't think we were going to win, two old fellas like us? Another Eurovision anomaly I suppose."

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