Press Pass Awards – Winners Announced

NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass awards which took place at the Convension Centre Dublin.

70,000 Transition Year students have participated in NewsBrands Ireland’s Press Pass programme, which develops literacy and critical thinking skills and leads students to analyse the society they live in.

In 2016, 8,000 Transition Year students took part in the NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass initiative. At today’s Press Pass Awards, 16 of those students were awarded for their original journalism, created as part of the Newspapers-in-Education programme.

Finian McGrath T.D., Minister for State with special responsibility for Disabilities

attended the awards and presented students with their awards. Speaking at the awards in the Convention Centre he said: ”Newspapers have a vital role to play in any free society. 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. I am delighted that 70,000 Transition Year students have had the opportunity to study newspapers in their classrooms through the Press Pass programme and I am certain that each and every one of them is a more engaged and better informed citizen as a result.” Mr McGrath commented.

NewsBrands Ireland Chairman, Vincent Crowley recognised the quality of journalism produced by the winning students and said: “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.”

The audience, made up of nominated students, their teachers and families also heard from Michael Clifford of the Irish Examiner, who was the NewsBrands Ireland Journalist of the Year 2016. Mr Clifford highlighted the value of quality, professional journalism and the importance of a trusted media.

Since the Press Pass programme launched five years ago, approximately 70,000 students have benefited from it. The programme has had the full support of the Department of Education since it began. It seeks to improve literacy and critical thinking skills while helping students to develop a deeper understanding of news media and how it communicates about the world around them.

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.

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

Overall winner

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)

All of the winning entries can be read here Press Pass Awards Winning Entries


Please contact Ann Marie Lenihan: (086) 816 2764 /