Writer Dave Duggan on road to recovery

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Although still recovering from major illness, acclaimed Derry writer Dave Duggan has penned two newly released Irish language pieces for BBC Online.

Dave, winner of a Stewart Parker Award for New Irish Drama, suffered a “major respiratory collapse” late last year, but insists he is on the mend.

“I’m still recovering and in the hands of the medics, as they say,” Dave told the ‘Journal’ this week.

“The irony is that work now appearing in public was written long before I was sick, so it’s heartening that the work is just appearing in public now.”

The Derry-based writer has created a new seven part Irish language drama series entitled ‘Comhairleoirí’. This political satire focuses on four young political advisers in Stormont, in a new state department called ‘The Department for Integration, Co-Operation and Efficacy’.

“’Comhairleoirí’ means ‘Advisors’ and the drama focuses on these four young political advisors, all of whom are very ambitious and active. In theory, they’re working together, but they’re pushing against each other for the sake of personal ambition - it’s an office drama along the lines of Yes Prime Minister and In The Loop,” he said.

Dave has also written a short TV comedy monologue under the title ‘The Ten Commandments’. This first piece is based on the commandment ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.’

“The TV monologue is in Irish with English subtitles so it is much more accessible to the public. I’m pleased with the piece, it’s very well shot and the actor they have chosen is fantastic.”

“It’s an odd thing having a flurry of productions in Irish released at the same time, considering that 90% of what I do is in English. But it just happened that these pieces in Irish were announced and came out at the same time.

Dave says it’s vital that people are made aware of local arts projects. “Work is being created here that has an Irish, national and International reach and a lot of Irish language work is actually accessible to non Irish speakers and to a much wider audience than people might think,” he said.

Dave remains hopeful he will be back on track soon.

“My productivity is low, I would say I’m operating at around 20% of my normal capacity, so I have no major new works on the way simply by virtue of being sick.”

“But in the meantime, I’m just concentrating on taking it easy, reading a lot and recovering,” Dave said.

‘Comhairleoirí’ can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/irish/articles/view/1157/english/ and Dave’s TV monologue can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/irish/articles/view/1149/english/