Abbey chief defends Aosdana against new 'witch hunt'
THE director of the Abbey Theatre has described the recent debate about Aosdana as "a lazy witch hunt" and said he would like to see membership of the artists body increased by 50.
Speaking at the annual John McGahern Seminar in Co Leitrim, Senator Fiach Mac Conghail said the criticism made no sense.
He also warned against "commemoration paralysis" in relation to the commemoration of the 1916 Rising and said there was considerable anxiety emanating from government in relation to this centenary decade.
Quoting John McGahern's comment that writers must refuse to represent any kind of ideological interest or political dogma, the theatre director asked: "Why should they be corralled into Aosdana to offer any of us or indeed any newspaper a justification of what they do as artists?".
"We should be planning and announcing our celebrations for the Easter Rising ", he went on to add.
Among the highlights of the McGahern event were readings by Donal Ryan, author of the acclaimed 'The Spinning Heart' and by Longford-born Belinda McKeon who read from her second novel 'Tender'.