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Fionnula Flanagan to receive Lifetime Achievement IFTA

Irish acting star recognised for her 50-year career in movies, TV and theatre.

Fionnula Flanagan winning an IFTA in 2007
Fionnula Flanagan winning an IFTA in 2007
Image: Photocall Ireland

IRISH ACTOR FIONNUALA Flanagan will be honoured at next month’s Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) for her 50-year career.

Trained at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Old Vic in London, Flanagan began her career as a lauded theatrical performer. She made her feature film debut in 1967 alongside Milo O’Shea and TP McKenna in Ulysses. She has since featured in a long list of films including The Others, The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Some Mother’s Son and Waking Ned Devine.

She is also in with a chance of taking home a second IFTA this year – she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Film) for her role in The Guard. Flanagan won an IFTA in that category in 2007 for her role in Transamerica.

Her television work has been high profile from the 1976 series Rich Man, Poor Man, through to her role as Data’s mother in Star Trek: Next Generation right up to her roles in Lost and Brotherhood where she played the tough Irish matriarch of Irish-American siblings. She has just finished filming a new movie with Kisses director Lance Daly, called Life’s A Breeze, which also stars Pat Shortt and Eva Birthistle.

Shortt, hearing of her IFTA award, said:

Fionnula is an immensely talented actress, a stunningly beautiful woman and always great craic to work with on set. I am delighted that she is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of her yet.

IFTA’s chief executive Áine Moriarty said that Flanagan has earned “the greatest respect from her peers here at home” and that she had been a great supporter of Irish productions, while still achieving a high profile internationally.

One Irish production she lent her expertise to in recent years was the TG4 comedy series Paddywhackery, in which she revived every Leaving Cert Irish student’s nightmare by playing a very feisty Peig Sayers.

Incidentally, the co-writer and director of that series, Dubliner Daniel O’Hara, has since gone on to become a prolific primetime TV director for shows such as Skins, George Gently and Being Human. O’Hara is nominated for Best Director (Television Drama) at this year’s IFTAs. (TheJournal.ie’s readers might recognise his name from the award-winning short film, Yu Ming is Ainm Dom, which featured in our Friday at the Movies series.)

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