TD's acting career takes off after film is picked up as an in-flight movie
'Colour of Forgiveness' nominated for international awards and will be shown on Aer Lingus routes
When the political career is over, Tom Neville may have a bright future in acting.
The Fine Gael TD, who treads the boards as a part-time actor, is flying high as he confirmed that his latest film has been sold as an in-flight movie on Aer Lingus flights.
The Irish-made short film, 'Colour of Forgiveness', sees Mr Neville's leading role character, Tom, spiral into a world of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, after his fiancée ditches him at the altar. Polish director Dawid Gral tells the story of how the lives of loving couple, Tom and Maria, who is played by Christina McMahon, are forever changed on the fateful morning.
"It examines the fundamentals of a relationship that even with the best of intentions can often be doomed," Mr Neville offered.
The film has been nominated for two international movie awards and will now be available to a wider international audience via the Aer Lingus flights.
"I was told by the director that the movie had been sold to Aer Lingus. I'm really delighted for everyone involved in it," Mr Neville said.
The West Limerick TD is engaged to marry Irish actress Jenny Dixon, of 'Fair City' fame, and the real-life couple have also acted together in their first feature film 'Full Circle', produced and directed by Noel Brady.
Despite the hectic schedule that comes with being a Dáil deputy, Mr Neville has clearly still found time to indulge his thespian talent.
As well as being a trained actor, he also has a masters degree in music, media and technology from University of Limerick.
Mr Neville (43) was also previously nominated for an award at the Richard Harris International Film Festival for a short film featuring his portrayal of heroin addict Mark Renton, made famous by Ewan McGregor in the 1996 cult film 'Trainspotting'.
Despite his experiences on the big screen Mr Neville said he isn't letting it go to his head. He is "very proud" that parts of his new film were shot in a pub in Killfinny, "not far from where I grew up" and previously owned by members of his extended family.
"I apply myself to acting in a completely organic way and I let the creativity flow...And, wherever it goes, it goes; so I'm delighted," he added.
Mr Neville admitted "acting is something that is part of me" but he said that politics is his "number one" priority.
However, the deputy said he has spoken at mental health committees about "how important the arts is for good mental health".
Being able to marry his hobby with his "passion" for politics has helped him cope with the normal stresses of life, he said.
"I'm grateful for it... acting is something that will always be part of me, it's part of who I am. It's important for me."
For anyone who has difficulty expressing how they feel through words "art can be a healing therapy", he added.
"I studied a musical therapy module as part of my masters and the positive effects are unbelievable. Art is about community; it's fluid and organic, and less rigid than politics; and that is to be welcomed and encouraged."
'Colour of Forgiveness' is showing on Aer Lingus flights until the end of January 2019.