'You have to keep your eye on hate crimes', warns director Sheridan
Movie director Jim Sheridan has spoken about the worrying rise in suspected hate crimes in Ireland, saying it was something that needed to be monitored.
He condemned the alleged attack on a young girl in Dundrum last month in which her hijab was reportedly pulled off and she was pelted with eggs.
It came shortly after a mosque in Galway was vandalised and broken into.
Sheridan said it was important we remained vigilant about these incidents and adopted a zero-tolerance approach.
"These kind of things are limited to a very small minority and you have to keep your eye on it and not let it get out of control," he told the Herald.
The Oscar-nominated director said he wanted to do something positive for the Muslim community in Ireland, which is his reason for curating the Dublin Arabic Film Festival, which kicks off on October 4.
It originally began in 2014 with Omar Sharif flying in to Dublin to open the festival.
Now in its sixth year, this year's theme is one of displacement, which runs though several of the six films selected for the event.
"We live in strange times, where it quite often seems society is becoming less tolerant of different cultures," Sheridan said.
"This festival aims to embrace difference and to encourage tolerance."
Sheridan said he wished more people from the mosques would come to show their support for this year's festival.
He said the event aimed to create greater understanding of the Arab world, its people and the films being made there.
This year's inaugural patron will be Game Of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham. The festival is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free.
Among festival highlights will be a movie called The Day I Lost My Shadow, in which a young mum living in war-torn Syria struggles to give her son as normal a childhood as possible.
It also includes a tribute to Saudi writer Hissa Hilal, with a screening of The Poetess at the Irish Film Institute.
She made headlines around the world in 2010 after reading out a poem attacking one of the most notorious Saudi clerics during an Abu Dhabi TV show watched by 75 million viewers.
One of Ireland's best-known directors, Sheridan came to prominence in America with his 1990 release My Left Foot, which earned leading actor Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker.
He is also known for films including In The Name Of The Father and The Field.
Sheridan said he was currently on the lookout for his next big project.
He was spotted attending the so-called 'Mr Moonlight' trial, in which Patrick Quirke was convicted of murdering Bobby Ryan on a farm in Tipperary in the longest-running trial in the State's history.
"I have been in contact with the family," he said.
"They wanted me to do something on it. I think it's a good story."