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Spy master: John Le Carre became Irish citizen in protest at Brexit

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Citizenship: Author John Le Carre, whose real name was David Cornwell, at his home in London in 2008. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Citizenship: Author John Le Carre, whose real name was David Cornwell, at his home in London in 2008. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

AP

Citizenship: Author John Le Carre, whose real name was David Cornwell, at his home in London in 2008. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

John le Carré took Irish citizenship shortly before his death after becoming disillusioned with England over Brexit, his son Nicholas Cornwell has revealed in a new documentary.

On BBC Radio 4's upcoming documentary, A Writer and His Country, the son of the novelist behind books including The Night Manager and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, says his father discovered his Irish ancestry through his maternal grandmother and decided to take Irish citizenship before he died aged 89 in December.

Le Carré - whose real name was David Cornwell - once said of the UK leaving the EU: "This is without doubt the greatest catastrophe and the greatest idiocy that Britain has perpetrated since the invasion of Suez.

"Nobody is to blame but the Brits themselves - not the Irish, not the Europeans."

Le Carré drew on his experience working for British intelligence and MI6 during the Cold War in his writing, but later said he was irked at the extent to which his fiction was portrayed as representing real-world spying.

His most well-known character was intelligence officer George Smiley played by Sir Alec Guinness in the TV series of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

A Writer and His Country will air on Saturday

Belfast Telegraph


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