Irish actress Nicola Coughlan calls on Joe Biden to ‘help people’ in Gaza 

Galway actress Nicola Coughlan has called on US President Joe Biden to align with Irish sentiment to pursue a peaceful end to the conflict in Gaza, asking him to use his Irish pride “to help people who are in need”.

The actress was in Dublin this evening to promote the much-anticipated second half of Bridgerton’s latest season, which is landing on Netflix next Thursday.

The 37-year-old, who plays this season’s lead in the Regency-era period drama, has consistently been using her large profile as a result of the streaming network’s juggernaut to draw attention to the atrocities in Gaza.

This evening, as hundreds queued outside The Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield to catch a glimpse of her and co-star Luke Newton, she proudly sported an artists4ceasefire pin on an Erdem gown and called on the US President, specifically, to intervene.

Speaking of the connection she feels to Palestine as an Irish person, she said she believes Irish people recognize the role US politicians played in brokering peace in Ireland.

“I think a lot of Irish people look to Joe Biden and go, you’re very proud of your Irish roots, it would be great if you could use that and apply it to the situation here and use it to help people who are in need.” 

The actress, who first came to the Irish public’s attention for her portrayal of Clare in Derry Girls, spoke of using her 4.8 million following on Instagram to bring attention to the war in Gaza. The star currently has a fundraiser for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund linked in her bio and has so far raised over €1.7 million for various Palestinian causes.

Asked whether she has faced any pushback for speaking out so vocally on the issue, she responded “Even if I have, I don’t think it matters. I am not the one suffering in the situation.” 

“It’s such a weird dichotomy… I’m so proud of this show and it’s so joyful, but I’m hyper-aware of what’s going on in Gaza right now.

I have so many eyes on me right now. Some people go ‘who cares what an actress thinks’ and I know, you’re right, but what I can do is help raise money for people in need.

“I have a fundraiser on Instagram right now for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, and it’s raised one and a half million…I wanted to raise 10k. That has blown me away — the generosity of people. So that’s what I want to focus on. If I get a few mean Instagram comments? I’ll live. I’m not the important one here.”

The latest season of the Regency-era drama centres around Coughlan’s character Penelope Featherington, as she endeavours to find herself a husband, and keep her secret writing gig as Lady Whistledown underwraps.

Nicola Coughlan posing for a selfie on the red carpet. Picure: Sam Boal/Collins Photos
Nicola Coughlan posing for a selfie on the red carpet. Picure: Sam Boal/Collins Photos

Beyond using tonight’s opportunity to call for an end to the conflict in Gaza, the star was happy to answer any and all questions from the media tonight — many of which concerned how she was feeling about the world seeing her in the steamy scenes the show has become known for. The star previously told Stylist magazine she insisted on a scene in this season where she was “very naked”, in part, as a “big fuck you to all the conversation surrounding my body”.

But tonight, she was more demure as she reflected on the fact her family were about to watch the scenes for the first time. 

“It’s a lot,” she said laughing, “My sister’s here tonight.”

She had advised her to “just close her eyes” when the “very intense” scene comes on.

“There’s nothing I can do. I’ll let them watch it, I won’t be there… and then after I’ll just pretend it never happened,” she said, eyes twinkling. 

 Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan were in Dublin to attend a special screening of Netflix's Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2. Picture: Andres Poveda/Netflix
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan were in Dublin to attend a special screening of Netflix’s Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2. Picture: Andres Poveda/Netflix

Coughlan’s co-star, Luke Newton, who portrays the very eligible bachelor Colin Bridgerton in the period drama, was also in Ireland for the occasion.

Decked out in Irish designer Simone Rocha, the English actor was asked about his previous visits to the Emerald Isle (fun fact: he once played a concert in Mullingar), his favourite Irish musician (Hozier), and what Irish actors, other than Coughlan, he’d love to work with.

“Cillian Murphy,” he said without hesitation. “He’s a genius”.

He’s welcome in Cork anytime.

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