‘The poor can wait, as always:’ playwright Emmet Kirwan on art, activism and the price of political comment

Dublin actor and writer sets out his views on art, theatre and homelessness

Emmet Kirwan: landlords leaving buildings empty for decades is ‘a type of anti-social behaviour’. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Emmet Kirwan would prefer not to talk about the recent riot in Dublin. “I don’t think I’m placed to speak on it,” he says, twisting uncomfortably in his seat as his body language seems to say, ‘I’m not touching that’.

It’s a little surprising, because the 43-year-old actor and writer behind 2017’s powerful spoken-word video Heartbreak and the thrilling 2014 stage play Dublin Oldschool has, in part, made his name for his astute social observations, in particular two memorable Late Late Show appearances in 2017 and 2018 that served to catapult him to wider public attention.