'Frontline' loses out at Iftas as tweet weighs on judges' minds
The controversial RTE Frontline presidential debate, which "ambushed" independent candidate Sean Gallagher in the election, has been unsuccessful at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
The bogus tweet at the centre of the programme -- which has been the subject of a complaint by Mr Gallagher -- is said to have weighed heavily on judges' minds.
However, the RTE Prime Time Investigates team behind the defamatory documentary 'A Mission to Prey', which paid out significant damages and issued a public apology to Fr Kevin Reynolds, won the top current affairs prize last night.
Former RTE producer Mark Lappin, executive producer Brian Pairceir and current affairs editor Ken O'Shea were all honoured for their work on a report into the home-care scandal in Ireland.
The damning four-month investigation uncovered appalling abuse of the sick and infirm by a number of private companies, including apparent force feeding and theft.
The programme also revealed a lack of proper training, an older person given medicine by an unqualified carer and another left to lie in a soiled bed. Speaking after accepting the award, Mr Lappin said: "It's been such a difficult time this past year. But Prime Time plays such an important role in Irish life. The programme has taken a little bit of a beating of late but winning the award tonight is such a testament to the good work that Prime Time does and everyone that is involved."
Meanwhile Love/Hate swept the boards at the ninth annual awards ceremony with seven gongs on the night.
The hugely successful RTE drama stole the show with a host of awards, including Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Writer.
The Guard and Albert Nobbs both picked up four awards each.
On the red carpet last night for the star-studded bash at the National Convention Centre in Dublin was Irish actress Amy Huberman with her rugby-ace husband Brian O'Driscoll, Brendan Gleeson, Hollywood's newest A-Lister Michael Fassbender, Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd with his new fiance TV presenter Dawn Porter, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, comedian Pat Shortt, actor Liam Cunningham, Pat Kenny, Miriam O'Callaghan, Ryan Tubridy, Grainne Seoige, and Niall Breslin, who arrived with his sister.
There were 40 categories in the event, which was hosted by Simon Delaney. Other winners included: O'Dowd for Best Supporting Actor-Film (Bridesmaids), Michael Fassbender for Best Actor-Film (Shame), Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress in Hannah, Glenn Close for Best International Actress (Albert Nobbs) and Mrs Brown's Boys for Best Entertainment Programme.
Speaking about the success he has achieved in the past year since the massive hit Bridesmaids, O'Dowd said the fact that fame didn't arrive in his younger years has kept him grounded.
He said: "I can imagine it would be hard if you were young. But I'm 32. I have had my ups and downs. I would be happy if it just plateaued here."
But he added: "This isn't the time to start resting on my laurels. That's why I am writing and producing my new TV show here in Ireland."
Asked if a romantic Irish wedding was on the cards with his fiance Dawn Porter, he said: "I don't know. It's her big day so she'll have to decide. It's bride's choice."
Another star who has enjoyed massive success this past year is veteran comedian Brendan O'Carroll.
After picking up his gong in the best entertainment category for Mrs Brown's Boys he said the success of the show, which beat Jonathan Ross in the ratings with 6 million viewers, is still baffling him.
"I don't know what it is. If I could put it in a bottle and sell it I would," he said.