Liam Neeson to receive 'Outstanding Contribution' award at this year's IFTAs

His work has spanned three decades across a total of 84 films

Liam Neeson, IFTA, Outstanding Contribution, Irish Film and Television Academy, Taken, Schindler's List, Antrim

In this file photo, actor Liam Neeson poses for photographers during the presentation of the film "Run All Night" in Madrid | Image: Abraham Caro Marin / AP/Press Association Images

The Irish Film and Television Academy is to honour actor Liam Neeson with a special award at this year's ceremony.

He will receive the Irish Academy (IFTA) Award for his 'Outstanding Contribution to Cinema' at the 2016 awards, taking place in Dublin on April 9th.

The President Michael D Higgins will officially present the award at the ceremony.

Born in Ballymena, Co Antrim Neeson's body of work has spanned 30 years across a diverse range of projects - 84 films in total.

The academy says he has established himself "as a world-renowned and outstanding actor of his generation".

The Oscar-nominated actor has just completed work on Martin Scorsese's new film 'Silence'.

He has also received international recognition for various roles depicting real-life characters - such as Michael Collins, Alfred Kinsey and Oskar Schindler - with the latter role acknowledged by many as an 'exceptional' performance.

Image: IFTA

He has also delivered iconic roles of fictional characters in films such as 'Star Wars', 'Batman' and the enormously successful 'Taken' trilogy.

His distinctive voice has also given life to animated characters - including the Lion 'Aslan' in the 'Chronicles of Narnia', and he has narrated many international documentaries including the recent Irish series '1916'.

Áine Moriarty, chief executive of IFTA, said: "Liam is a luminary of film whose outstanding talent, craft and skill as an actor, along with his enormous achievements in the world of cinema, has made him an inspiration to young Irish filmmakers and actors coming through the ranks in our home industry today".

"We look forward to welcoming Liam back home to acknowledge and celebrate his achievements," she added.

Responding to the news, Neeson himself said: "I am honoured and humbled to be recognised by the Irish Academy with this award - especially when I am following in the footsteps of an illustrious group of Irish filmmakers before me such as Boorman, Jordan, O'Hara and Sheridan".

"I look forward to coming to Dublin to celebrate with our home industry and with my colleagues and friends", he added.