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Ending on a high note: the Irish Presidency at the Library

The EP Library is fast becoming a well-known centre for cultural events in the life of the Parliament. This is partly due to the great visibility we achieved thanks to the Irish Presidency and the Parliamentary Quaestor responsible for the Library, MEP Jim Higgins and his office.

Sheridan eventBack in January 2013 we had the pleasure of hosting renowned author and literary prize-winner John Banville – famous for such works as “The Sea” and “Ancient Light” for a very enjoyable evening of Irish culture.

As if that wasn’t excitement enough, the Presidency intends to go out on a high, and this time MEP Higgins has invited one of the big guns from a different cultural sphere: the world of film.

We are really looking forward to welcoming Jim Sheridan to the Library on 24 June to talk about Irish culture. Most interesting will be Sheridan’s take on the current discussion of a possible “cultural exception” for audiovisual services, to exclude them from any agreement under the Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership currently under negotiation. After all, as Sheridan left his native Ireland for America many years ago, he should have a good view from both sides of “the pond”.

Does Sheridan’s exile in America, so common amongst Irish people of that generation, mean that his work is less relevant to Europeans? I asked a few of our Irish friends what Jim Sheridan meant to them, and their answers most resoundingly reflect that he is a popular hero for many Irish people.

One (he shall remain anonymous) friend described Sheridan as “someone you’d be happy to go out on the town with. A proper Dublin gent … he has the artistic integrity to merit his place at the bar.”

Four leaf clover

Nemo / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Sheridan is well-known for stepping up to a challenge. His refreshing treatment of the persona of the tortured genius Christy Brown in “My Left Foot”, and his brilliant portrayal of the carnage of the “troubles” in terms of interpersonal and family relationships in “In the Name of the Father” led to brave new partnerships, such as that with 50 Cent and a project on “Artemis Fowl”. Maybe we’ll get a few hoodies along on Monday evening…

As the mother of a few Irish guys myself, his tragic, yet strong, mother-figures appeal to me most. Yet Sheridan seems to have an exceptional talent at bringing out the best in his stars, with Daniel-Day Lewis and Richard Harris giving some of their best performances for him.

Generally my Irish friends say they love this sort of accomplished talent. “He has a real talent that speaks to us, lets us look into some of the darker parts of our souls and deal with what we see. He has given us a language to deal with our inner rages and frames it strongly using family relationships.” They would all like nothing better than to corner him in a pub and feel like little film stars themselves. So we’ll all be there on Monday evening, basking in a little reflected glory. We might need to get more chairs out for the event…

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