scoops top award
By Fiachra ” Cionnaith
Irish Examiner, Friday,
June 03, 2011
journalist Conall ” Fatharta has won one of the highest accolades on
offer at the Justice Media Awards for his outstanding exposť on
Ireland’s illegal adoption scandal.
Conall was awarded the
top prize in the daily newspaper category — a section dominated
entirely by three Irish Examiner reporters — after a series of
exclusive stories on the hidden crisis.
The journalist, from Galway, was commended at the Law Society of Ireland
contest for his refusal to back down from uncovering the truth behind
this country’s adoption past, and some international adoptions taking
His major award specifically related to the 2010 two-day series
"Adoption in Ireland" which focussed on one woman’s 30-year
search to find her son who was taken away without her consent and whose
birth was falsely registered by authorities.
This move, the judging panel noted, "effectively removed all legal
evidence that she had ever given birth... and was done without her
knowledge or consent".
A second-day piece examined the failure of the Adoption Board to reveal
the true number of children illegally removed from their birth parents.
This article was described by the judging panel as "excellent"
and a fair criticism of "the failure of the Government... to assist
adopted children and natural parents to trace each other".
Conall’s success was repeated by his colleagues Jennifer Hough and
Cormac O’Keeffe, who received "certificates of merit" in the
same category for their in-depth stories on the juvenile justice system.
Jennifer’s "Young Lives Lost" series was described as an
"insightful piece" on how young people can fall into the
juvenile courts system from an early age.
Cormac’s "Path Away From Crime" similarly highlighted the
benefits of a Garda case-management system to help take vulnerable
teenagers away from a life of crime.
Both were praised by the judging panel for the significant research
The Irish Examiner was the only national daily newspaper to be commended
at his year’s Justice Media Awards.
And there was similar success for our sister publication, the Evening
Echo, whose security correspondent, Ann Murphy, received a regional
newspaper section award for her articles on the plight of women behind
Reacting to the hat-trick of achievements, the executive editor of the
Irish Examiner, Dolan O’Hagan, said the awards are further validation
of the newspaper’s ongoing commitment to addressing the inadequacies
and inequalities of Irish society with hard-hitting and campaigning
"I’m sure the recipients of these awards will not mind me saying
their tremendous achievements are another indication of the hard work
and continued commitment of all their colleagues in ensuring that many
of the inequalities and inadequacies of our society do not go
unchallenged," he said.
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