The Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent have claimed several honours at this year’s Law Society of Ireland Justice Media Awards (JMA).
The annual ceremony recognises outstanding journalism that contributes to the public’s understanding of justice, the legal system and legal issues.
Irish Independent Legal Affairs Editor Shane Phelan collected two honours.
He was awarded a merit in the Print/Online Journalism (Daily) category for his series ‘The Quinns win ‘Right to be Forgotten’’, which examined how members of ex-billionaire Seán Quinn’s family mounted a successful campaign to have press coverage about their past ‘forgotten’ by Google.
JMA judges said: “This focused series tackled an important legal issue for EU citizens, clearly setting out the criteria of how the law can be used, and detailing how it can be open to abuse.”
Mr Phelan collected his second merit in the Court Reporting – Print and Online category for his piece ‘Anatomy of a fraud: ‘How I stole €1.1m from charity Bóthar’. The article detailed how former Bóthar chief executive David Moloney stole funds from the charity.
"This stalwart reporter has delivered another top class story. It was excellent exclusive reporting,” JMA judges said.
Irish Independent Special Correspondent Catherine Fegan also claimed a merit in the same category for her piece ‘Kevin Lunney takes the stand in abduction trial’. The awarding judges said: “When reporting on the same facts of a case, it can be difficult to stand-out. However, this
reporter did just that. She provided a gallery view account, transporting the reader into the court room.”
Sunday Independent Deputy Business Editor Fearghal O'Connor earned a merit in the International Justice Reporting category for his article ‘Unravelling the web of Irish connections behind the Dolphin property collapse’.
"Dissecting the details of a pyramid scheme and how Irish directors abused their positions, this was superb investigative reporting with good legal content,” the JMA judges said.
Meanwhile, Sunday World Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant and the team behind the hugely successful podcast series ‘The Witness: In His Own Words’, claimed a merit in the broadcast journalism (podcast) section. Judges described it as a “stand-out podcast this year”.
The JMA’s top award was presented to Mary Carolan and Simon Carswell for their Irish Times article ‘Inside the District Courts’. This article was selected from 277 entries, winning the Print/online journalism (daily) category as well as the overall award.
The JMA judges said the article “offered unique insights and access to the judiciary. To gain this access, it is clear trust had been established and the reputation of the journalists precedes them”.
Peter O’Dwyer, from the Business Post, won the Print/Online Journalism (Sunday) section for his piece ‘Pandemic losses case - The pub, the patrons and the Premier League thriller’.
First prize for national radio broadcast journalism was awarded to Frank Greaney for his report ‘Sub-judice: What can and can't be said when a case is live’ which aired on the Dermot and Dave Show on Today FM.
In total 15 awards and 35 merits were presented to the deserving recipients during a special ceremony today at the Law Society’s headquarters in Dublin.
President of the Law Society of Ireland, Michelle Ní Longáin, said it is “heartening” to see such a “high calibre and breadth of voices” covering legal issues in Ireland.
“Legal journalism wears many hats. Whether it is highlighting gaps in legislation, increasing legal literacy or amplifying the voices of victims, the Law Society is proud to support and champion legal journalism.”