The nation owes Veronica Guerin an "enormous debt" for her sacrifice, President Michael D Higgins said in a special message at an event in her honour last night.
"She worked tirelessly, and with extreme courage, to expose a drugs trade that wrought so much misery on families and communities around the country," he said.
"Veronica sacrificed her life in order that some of this country's most powerful criminals would eventually be brought to justice, and as a society we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude."
On the 20th anniversary of the assassination of the Sunday Independent journalist, a new bursary for young investigative journalists was announced at the special Press Freedom commemorative event at Dublin Castle, hosted by Independent News & Media.
Among guests attending the event - which was hosted by Stephen Rae, Editor-in-Chief of INM, and Cormac Bourke, Editor of The Sunday Independent, along with RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan as MC - were members of Veronica's family.
The President was represented by his ADC, Commandant Louise Conlon, while papal nuncio, His Excellency, The Most Rev Charles John Brown and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald were present, together with Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Labour leader Brendan Howlin and former Justice Minister Nora Owen - who handled the crisis in the wake of Veronica's death - were also among those in attendance.
Chairman of INM Leslie Buckley, members of the board and CEO Robert Pitt were also present. Sean Potts played the uilleann pipes in memory of Veronica, and a song written for her by Christy Moore was sung by Brian Kennedy.
Leslie Buckley said Veronica had wanted to pursue crimelords profiting from the misery of others and has left the newspaper group with a lasting legacy.
Stephen Rae remembered Veronica was an ordinary person who achieved the extraordinary through remarkable courage and determination.