Belfast actor James Martin, who has Down syndrome, was highly praised for his starring role in the short film An Irish Goodbye at the Academy Awards. A touching moment was when the Irish star, who was also turning 31, accepted the award and was treated to a rendition of Happy Birthday from his fellow actors and the audience.
James’ father, Ivan, said it was an “amazing feat” for his son. When he was born, doctors doubted that James would ever speak. Ivan joked on BBC Radio Ulster, “so here we are – James not only speaks, once he started speaking he hasn’t shut up since.”
Ivan continued, “All I ever wanted for James was that he’d be happy and, I tell you what, he’s happy now.” His award at the Oscars is a tremendous achievement for the young man and clearly illustrates how much people with Down syndrome can contribute to society.
Well done to James for reminding us all of the positive and significant roles people with disabilities have today. This is important to bear in mind considering some recent irresponsible and anti-life comments regrettably made by a senior Irish medic who should know better.