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Meaney wins at Irish 'Oscars' for McGuinness role

By Brett Campbell

Colm Meaney has been named best actor at the IFTA Awards for his portrayal of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in new film The Journey.

Meaney, who campaigned for McGuinness in the 2011 Irish Presidential election, was there to receive the accolade at the awards in Dublin’s Mansion House on Saturday.

The Dublin-born star said it had meant a lot to him to depict Mr McGuinness, and also expressed his sorrow at the recent death of the senior republican.

“Every once in a while we get to do something significant,” he said. “This was one of those projects. It meant a lot to me. To recognise and celebrate a significant event in our history.”

The film depicts the ‘journey’ made by the two former enemies, McGuinness and DUP leader Ian Paisley, ahead of the St Andrews Agreement (2006).

Written by Bangor’s Colin Bateman, it is to have its UK and Ireland premiere — which will be attended by stars Meaney and Timothy Spall, and director Nick Hamm — at the Movie House on Dublin Road in Belfast on May 4.

Meaney said he knew he had to take on the role as soon as he read the script, which he described as a “page-turner”.

Fionnula Flanagan was among the celebrities who joined some of Ireland’s brightest stars and best up and coming on-screen talent at the IFTA Awards ceremony, but some fans were left disappointed with some notable absentees from the red carpet.

Aidan Turner, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Dornan were absentees at the annual event, which was hosted by comedian Deirdre O’Kane.

Cillian Murphy, who was also absent, won the prestigious best actor (drama) award for his role as Thomas Shelby in the hugely popular Peaky Blinders.

Locally filmed HBO hit TV series Game Of Thrones lost out on the best drama gong. That went to the History Channel’s Vikings, which is also filmed in Ireland.

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