Secondary school students have been awarded for original journalism at the 2017 NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass Awards.
Of the 8,000 Transition Year students who took part in the Press Pass initiative last year, 16 winners were recognised at the ceremony today.
Some 70,000 TY students have participated in the programme, which develops literacy and critical thinking skills and leads students to analyse the society they live in, since it launched five years ago.
Finian McGrath T.D., Minister for State with special responsibility for Disabilities attended the event and presented students with their awards.
”Newspapers have a vital role to play in any free society," he said at the event.
"They are watchdogs, chroniclers and the eyes and ears that go where most can not be. Press Pass is a wonderful initiative that promotes literacy and critical thinking skills by bringing newspapers into classrooms and encouraging students to study them in depth."
“When you engage with newspapers you engage with society. When young people engage with society, that society benefits enormously from their input and their energy,” Mr McGrath commented.
Participating schools receive newspapers and a specially created workbook free of charge. Students are encouraged to engage with the newspapers in the classroom, to analyse them and then to create their own original journalism, the best of which was entered into a national competition.
NewsBrands Ireland Chairman, Vincent Crowley recognised the quality of journalism produced by the winning students.
“We are consistently impressed by the standard of work that the young people of this country produce. This year is no exception. It bodes well for the future of journalism in this country and for Ireland more generally,” he said.
The audience, made up of nominated students, their teachers and families also heard from the Irish Examiner's Michael Clifford, NewsBrands Ireland Journalist of the Year 2016.
The winners were selected by a panel of newspaper editors and journalists, chaired by Professor John Horgan, the former Press Ombudsman.
The overall winner of the 2016 Press Pass awards was Tomás Ó hUallacháin, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, An Daingean, while trophies were also awarded in five other categories: Features, Opinion, News, Sport and Photojournalism.
NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass 2016 winners
Tomás Ó hUallacháin (Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, An Daingean)
1st - Caitríona Ní Chonaill (Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Ire)
2nd - Mark O’Donnell (St Columbas Comprehensive, Glenties)
3rd - Natasha Holmes (Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel)
1st - Síofra O’Dwyer (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana)
2nd - Aoife Foley (St Mary's Secondary School, Macroom)
3rd - Ciara Tomlinson (Jesus and Mary College, Goatstown)
1st - Kate Ní Dhubháin (Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, An Daingean)
2nd - Ciara Ní Bhruic (Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, An Daingean)
3rd - Niamh O’Dowd (FCJ Secondary School, Bunclody)
1st - Emma McGoey (Mean Scoil Mhuire, Longford)
2nd - Sorcha Nic an tSionnaigh (Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick)
3rd - Colm Breslin (Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal)
1st - Jack Farrell (Causeway Comprehensive School)
2nd - Carley Mannion (Coláiste Iognáid, Galway)
3rd - Clodagh O’Leary (FCJ Secondary School, Bunclody)