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30th Aug 2021

Nika McGuigan’s dad pays tribute to her during final film premiere

Sarah McKenna Barry

Wildfire had its Irish premiere in the town of Clones, Co. Monaghan last night.

Barry McGuigan paid a touching tribute to his late daughter Danika at the premiere of the last film she starred in.

Nika passed away in July 2019 after being diagnosed with cancer. She was 33 years old.

The last film she acted in was Cathy Brady’s Wildfire, which enjoyed its Irish premiere in Nika’s hometown of Clones, Co. Monaghan last night.

Nika’s dad Barry, a boxer, paid tribute to her ahead of the screening.

He said: “Our hearts are broken that Nika is not here to see the success of her last performance, but my family and I are comforted to see it on the big screen with our friends, family and the community in Clones.”

The film tells the story of two young women in an Irish border town as they cope with the death of their mother.

At the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards this summer, Nika posthumously received the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Wildfire.

Accepting the prize on her behalf, Nika’s brother Blane said that his sister’s performance “speaks for itself”.

“It is the culmination of years of hard work,” he said. “Nika tirelessly grafted to become the best actor she could be and in Wildfire she found a vehicle that let her express herself artistically like she had never been able to do before.

“It is tragic that Nika did not get to show the world more of her endless talent, but this award and its recognition of her brilliant performance would have meant everything to Danika.”

At the ceremony, dad Barry said that the performance was a “testament to the sacred and special bond” Nika had with her own mother.

Wildfire is set for an Irish release on 3 September.