Renowned film critic Michael Dwyer was 'one in a million'

SIMON BROUDER

TRIBUTES have been paid to Tralee man Michael Dwyer, long time film critic with the Irish Times, who passed away last week following a short illness.

Mr Dwyer, who was born in St John's Park in Tralee in 1951, died in Dublin on New Year's Day, aged 58.

A graduate of Trinity College, Mr Dwyer previously wrote for the Sunday Tribune, Sunday Press, In Dublin magazine and for a period in the 1990s presented RTE's weekly movie programme 'Freeze Frame'.

An avid promoter of film since he was a young man, Mr Dwyer founded the Tralee Film Society in the 1970s while he was working at Tralee's County Library and supplied the Society's notes for The Kerryman in its early years.

He went on to found the Dublin Film Festival and its successor the Jameson International Film Festival. He was also a member of the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art until shortly before his death.

In 2006 he was honoured by the French Government at the Cannes Film Festival, an event he attended every year since 1982, where he was given the title 'Chevalier de Artes et des Letters'.

It was on his return from this year's Cannes festival the Mr Dwyer first fell ill.

His nephew Jim Lyons, who lives in Tralee, described him as "one in a million."

"He was a great family man and he was down every single Christmas," Mr Lyons said. "I can remember as a young boy he used to take me and my brother to the movies at the Ashe Hall. He was the best uncle you could ever have and his death is a great loss."

Tributes to Michael Dwyer have poured in from across the media, film and art worlds.

Arts Minister Martin Cullen described Mr Dwyer as a "singular, significant influence on cinema in Ireland."

Irish Times Editor Geraldine Kennedy praised his work and said he had "dedicated his life to film."

Former Director of Film Classification John Kelleher said Mr Dwyer's death was a huge loss for the world of Irish film.

Tributes were also made by directors Jim Sheridan and Neill Jordan, and Irish actors Daniel Day Lewis, Gabriel Byrne, Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy and Johnathan Rhys Myers and former Arts Minister Michael D Higgins.

Michael Dwyer's remains were cremated on Tuesday following a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Name in his adopted home of Ranelagh in Dublin.

He is survived by his partner Brian Jennings, his mother Mary, sisters Anne and Maria, his brother in law, nephews Nicholas, Jim and Nick and niece Fiona.

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