Remembering Muiris Mac Conghail

 

Sir, – I was disappointed that your obituary of Muiris Mac Conghail (November 30th) did not include any reference to his influential period as chairman of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board/IFB), now Screen Ireland.

After the original, and controversial, three-man interim board, lasted less than six months, a full complement of members was appointed by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition, at Christmas 1981, with Muiris as chairman. Given the long wait for a State body to encourage and support Irish film production, the IFB wisely decided to hold a public consultation in April 1982, where a wide range of interested organisations and individuals put forward their views of what policies it should adopt. The board itself met almost 90 times, with Muiris almost always in the chair, up to its untimely closure by Charles Haughey in 1987. Unfortunately, there was a gap of six years before the then Minister for Arts, Michael D Higgins, re-established the IFB in 1993.

The board benefited hugely from Muiris’s energy, his expertise as a senior TV executive and programme maker, and his deep knowledge of Irish culture. Although fully engaged in his role in RTÉ, Muiris gave generously of his time to the IFB, and its small executive staff, led by chief executive, Michael Algar. We are beholden to his commitment to this day, almost 40 years later. – Yours, etc,

DONALD TAYLOR BLACK,

Laragh, Co Wicklow.