Monday 20 January 2020

Women in the media celebrate a century of progress

Tracey Kelliher, Listowel, Miriam O’Callaghan and Katie Hannon, RTÉ, and Jackie Kelliher
from Listowel. Photo By Domnick Walsh
Tracey Kelliher, Listowel, Miriam O’Callaghan and Katie Hannon, RTÉ, and Jackie Kelliher from Listowel. Photo By Domnick Walsh
‘Irish Independent’ head of news Jane Last. Photo By Domnick Walsh

Sinead Kelleher

The progress made by women over the past 100 years since Irish women got the vote in 1918 was one of the topics of discussion at this year's Women in Media Conference in Ballybunion over the weekend.

Leading Irish women including well-known journalists, campaigners and politicians such as Miriam O'Callaghan, Katie Hannon, Nell McCafferty, and Senator Alice Mary Higgins were among those at the gathering.

Former Tánaiste and leader of the Seanad Mary O'Rourke joined Nell McCafferty, Senator Higgins and Mary Minihan on a discussion on 'Celebrating 100 years of the Vote for Irish women: Would the Irish Suffragettes be happy with the progress to date in securing equality?'

Ms O'Rourke said that she could not understand why people don't vote as women had to fight hard to get that vote back in 1918.

But she added that overall she could "proudly say that the woman of 1918 would be proud of us women in politics".

She told the audience that she had been named after two Irish suffragettes - Mary Constance Hanna O'Rourke - in honour of Constance Markievicz and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington.

'Rebuilding Trust in a Post-Truth Era' was another Saturday morning session which included speakers from across the media - including RTÉ's Caitríona Perry, and editor of 'The Journal' Susan Daly along with RTÉ 'Prime Time' reporters Katie Hannon and Miriam O'Callaghan, 96fm's Deirdre O'Shaughnessy and Ellen Coyne of 'The Times Ireland'.

Two leading women journalists were honoured with Justine McCarthy of the 'The Sunday Times' being presented with the Mary Cummins Award while Sinéad Kissane from TV3 won the inaugural Joan Kennelly Award.

The topic for discussion yesterday morning was 'Growing up in the 21st Century: The challenges it brings to today's adolescents' - introduced by local teenager Briannagh O'Connor, who has suffered bullying.

CEO of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Grainia Long called for a similar body to the Road Safety Authority to be set up for digital safety in light of the Matthew Horan case.

Social media pervert Horan, from Clondalkin, Dublin was jailed in January for seven-and-a-half years after coercing young girls into sending him sexually graphic images.

Ms Long said: "We need an office for a digital safety commissioner and we need the State to invest in it and parents to support it, we need them to give parents the education they need and to put together guidelines for schools."

The conference closed on with a discussion on photography - 'A Picture Paints a Thousand Words' - chaired by INM's head of news and visuals Jane Last.

The talk featured INM award-winning photographer Gerry Mooney, 'The Kerryman' photographer Michelle Cooper-Galvin and Jerry Kennelly, founder of Stockbyte which is one of the biggest stock photography agencies in the world.

Irish Independent

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