Nee­son: I’m scared of pub­lic speak­ing

Irish Examiner - - News - Joyce Fe­gan

Award-win­ning ac­tor and ac­tion movie star, Liam Nee­son, might be able to take down the tough­est villains on screen, but he still has fears.

“My fear, and it’s a gen­uine fear, is pub­lic speak­ing. Ev­ery­body says: ‘Oh, you’re an ac­tor, you should be good at that.’ It’s just not true,” he said. He was speak­ing at Áras an Uachtaráin, yes­ter­day, where he re­ceived a spe­cial award for Ir­ish peo­ple do­ing out­stand­ing work abroad in sport, science, and the arts.

“I’m very, very hum­bled and I’m very, very proud to be Ir­ish, es­pe­cially to­day. I shall con­tinue to fly the flag for Ir­ish drama,” he said, on re­ceiv­ing the Pres­i­den­tial Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award, from Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins.

Pres­i­dent Hig­gins said the ac­tor had not only con­trib­uted to the arts, but also to hu­man­ity, through his 20 years as a Unicef Good­will Am­bas­sador.

“Last Novem­ber, when I was pre­sent­ing the Pres­i­den­tial Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award for con­tri­bu­tion for the Ir­ish abroad, Liam wasn’t able to be with us, but he more than de­serves a spe­cial oc­ca­sion him­self.

“We started the awards in 2012, to give recog­ni­tion to the Ir­ish peo­ple liv­ing abroad who had made a dis­tin­guished con­tri­bu­tion, not just to Ire­land, but to hu­man­ity in gen­eral and, in­deed, that is the case with Liam Nee­son,” Mr Hig­gins said.

The Pres­i­dent also spoke of the “Ir­ish fam­ily” and how it is not de­fined by po­lit­i­cal or ge­o­graphic bor­ders, but in­stead shared val­ues.

“I think our rea­son for hav­ing the awards was to say that the Ir­ish fam­ily isn’t de­fined by na­tional bor­ders or ter­ri­to­ries. It’s de­fined by care, com­pas­sion, a shared cul­ture and her­itage, a com­mon sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity, a con­scious­ness of our his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, and also the im­por­tance of Ire­land con­tribut­ing dy­nam­i­cally to a fu­ture that would be more hu­mane and more com­pas­sion­ate and more just.”

“It is very, very clear, to ab­so­lutely ev­ery­body in this room, how Liam Nee­son qual­i­fies by all of those cri­te­ria”.

The Pres­i­dent also re­ferred to the ac­tor’s con­tri­bu­tion to the Ir­ish film in­dus­try in the 1990s, when it was go­ing through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod.

“I want to say that, in that pe­riod be­tween 1993 and 1997, when the Ir­ish film in­dus­try was get­ting its sec­ond wind and go­ing on to the strong in­ter­na­tion­ally-recog­nised po­si­tion it now is [in], Liam Nee­son, and those like him, were out­stand­ing in help­ing pro­mote the Ir­ish film in­dus­try,” said Pres­i­dent Hig­gins.

He also thanked the ac­tor for his Unicef work. “Now is the time, more than any other, when, in fact, chil­dren of the world are more vul­ner­a­ble and de­serve all our sup­port.”

Pic­ture: Sam Boal/

Liam Nee­son at Áras an Uachtaráin to re­ceive the Pres­i­den­tial Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award from Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins.

Liam Nee­son launches new movie ‘The Com­muter’ at Cineworld, Par­nell St, Dublin, last night.

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