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Quinn "spoke with voice of Jesus"

Film director Jim Sheridan was "unnerved" by meeting, write Richard Oakley and Harry McGee

Award-winning film director Jim Sheridan has claimed that controversial lifestyle guru Tony Quinn told him that he once had a vision in which the voice of Jesus was coming from inside him.

In an interview with The Sunday Tribune, the director of Oscar-winning movies such as My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father said Quinn approached him two years ago through a mutual friend who was involved with Quinn`s organisation.

Quinn, according to Sheridan, wanted to make a film about a hypnotist. They met in the Malahide home of the figurehead of the positive living group, whose activities have led to concern among the families of some of those involved.

"I had met him before and I was once interviewed for his newspaper. I agreed to meet him because a friend of mine asked me to. He started telling me all about himself and the idea for a film he had about a hypnotist."

"He was telling me all sorts of stuff about himself, some of which I couldn`t believe. He told me he was walking along one day when all of a sudden a group of some sort of Middle Eastern people appeared to him.

"He said he became aware that he was walking on sand and he followed the people to the top of a hill. He said there were thousands of people there and that he thought he heard Jesus speaking to them, but then he realised it was him. That is verbatim what he told me. I found the whole meeting unnerving."

The Sunday Tribune asked representatives of the Tony Quinn organisation if the event occurred. Tony Quinn was uncontactable but a spokesman spoke to someone who was present at the meeting. He confirmed that Quinn had an idea about a film and described it as a "sci-fi" one. However, he denied that Quinn referred to himself as a Jesus-type figure or told the story recalled by Sheridan.

Dublin-born Quinn is now a multi-millionaire thanks to his £15,000 "life-changing" seminars. Some of Quinn`s own clients told RTE`s Liveline programme last week that Quinn had similarities to Jesus.

However, this claim has been denied by Quinn`s organisation. "Tony Quinn does not have an identity crisis. He does not think he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ," the spokesman said.

Sheridan said yesterday that after the meeting he made it clear that he did not want to have anything to do with Quinn. He said he was approached again about the project but that he refused to get involved.

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