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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kenwood (Local Democracy Reporter)

‘An Irish Goodbye’ piece of public art proposed for Belfast City Centre

Scene from An Irish Goodbye

Belfast Council is to look at producing a piece of public art celebrating the success of the short film 'An Irish Goodbye.'

The 2022 film written, produced, and directed by Tom Berkeley and Ross White stars James Martin, Seamus O’Hara, Paddy Jenkins and Michelle Fairley and is set on a rural farm in Glenmornan in the west of County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

The film won the 2023 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, the Best Short Film Award at the 76th British Academy Film Awards, and the Best Live Action Short Film at the 2023 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.

At the monthly full meeting of Belfast City Council this week, the chamber agreed that a report be submitted to a future meeting on the provision of artwork somewhere in the city to mark the success of the movie.

Sinn Féin Councillor Christina Black, who made the proposal at committee level, told the chamber:

“I want to thank all the members for recognising the massive significance that ‘An Irish Goodbye’ has had for our city. The short film did the treble – it won the Bafta, the Ifta and of course the Oscar.

“It shone a light on all the brilliant talent in this beautiful place and on our own lovely unique humour. Amongst its cast and producers there is such a greatness, and I think it is fair that Belfast honours them with a piece of art.

“And also massive congratulations to Doctor James Martin, and hopefully now we can see our city centre celebrating what is one of our greatest achievements.”

This week a new TV programme looking at the ascent of James Martin was announced. The UTV programme 'Being James Martin' looks into the life of the 33-year-old including an acting career which has seen him go from a local drama group for young people with learning difficulties to winning Oscars.

Rita Fitzgerald presents the programme and interviews James and his parents, Queen’s Professor Suzanne, and radio DJ Ivan, about his early life and the challenges and joys they faced with him as a child. Members of the “An Irish Goodbye” team also share their stories of the actor and how the part was written for him.

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