AN actor who was convicted of assault has been nominated for a prestigious Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA).
Darren Healy was nominated for the first time in the best actor category for his role in a new Irish film called 'Savage', described as "an exploration of violence and masculinity".
In 2007, the actor, who is from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to assaulting Philip Bryan causing him harm at Eamon Doran's pub in Temple Bar, Dublin. Mr Bryan later developed a blood clot on his brain and died. Doctors believed this clot was unrelated to the assault.
Last June the Court of Criminal Appeal replaced a three-year term imposed on Healy for the attack with a two-year suspended sentence.
However, Mr Healy (31) last night said he hoped coverage of the case would not stop him winning his category in which he faces stiff competition from leading Irish actors Colin Farrell, Stephen Rea and Ciaran Hinds.
"There was a lot of bad publicity. I took a year off after that because it was so bad," he said.
When asked if he regretted what happened, Mr Healy said: "Jesus Christ. Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely." His conviction has also added to controversy about the film he was nominated for.
'Savage' -- directed by Brendan Muldowney and produced by Conor Barry -- has been nominated for six IFTAs. It tells the story of a Dublin man, who after being brutally beaten, seeks out his attackers for revenge.
"It's a really, really disturbing film and it makes Dublin look horrible. It's going to stir a lot of talk," Mr Healy added.
Elsewhere in the IFTA nominations, Carlow actress Saoirse Ronan is favourite to be named Best Actress for her starring role in the film 'The Lovely Bones', for which she is also tipped to be nominated for an Oscar.
Margaret Corkery's drama 'Eamon', in which Darren Healy also appears, has been nominated for Best Irish Film along with Conor McPherson's supernatural thriller 'The Eclipse'. They are joined by Neil Jordan's modern fairytale 'Ondine', Tom Moore's animated feature 'The Secret of Kells', and John and Kieran Carney's comedy 'Zonad'.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is tipped to win the Best Television actor category for 'The Tudors', slightly ahead of Gabriel Byrne for his role as a psychiatrist in the hit US TV series 'In Treatment'.
In other television categories Pat Kenny's new programme 'The Frontline' will fight it out for top honours in the current affairs category with Paul Williams' documentary on the Corrib Gas project, 'The Battle for the Gasfield'.
The awards take place in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on February 20.