Friday 21 October 2016

'A very good chat' - Director Lenny Abrahamson meets with minister Heather Humphreys

Published 12/07/2016 | 18:40

Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson – who criticised the government’s commitment to the arts – has met with minister Heather Humphreys and had what he described as “a very good chat”.

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The 'Room' director hit out at Taoiseach Enda Kenny in May for the decision not to have a specific arts portfolio.

He took to social media at the time arguing that the government's support for the arts was "shamefully low".

Minister Heather Humphreys later contacted Mr Abrahamson to assure him she values the arts and the film sector and offered to meet him in July.

The pair met today and Mr Abrahamson Tweeted afterwards: “Had a very good chat with Minister [Heather Humphreys] who, true to her word, invited me to the department to talk about arts policy”.

A spokeswoman for Ms Humphreys said that the minister didn’t want to let the opportunity pass to meet Mr Abrahamson while he is back in Dublin. 

Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys
Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys

“As one of Ireland’s most successful film makers, the Minister was keen to have a proper discussion with Lenny about the opportunities for the audio visual sector here,” she said.

“They had a very positive discussion about the Irish film and TV sector and how there is a great story to tell in terms of the huge amount of talent in Ireland.

“Lenny has lots of good ideas on how the Irish film and TV sector can grow and the Minister intends to follow up on them,” the spokeswoman added.

Ms Humphreys had been appointed Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht by Mr Kenny at the beginning of May.

She responded to criticism of the lack of a specific arts portfolio insisting she would be making the case at Cabinet for extra funding for the sector.

Last week the government confirmed that the name of the Department would be changed to Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Placing ‘Arts’ at the start of the title reflected the fact that the arts accounts for the largest proportion of the Department’s budget, Ms Humphreys said of the name change.

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