NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass awards honor the very best in student journalism

Over 90,000 Transition Year students have participated in NewsBrands Ireland’s Press Pass programme to date

8 April 2019. Over 10,000 Transition Year students took part in the 7th annual NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass initiative. At today’s Press Pass Awards Ceremony, 16 of those students were awarded for their original journalism, created as part of the Newspapers-in- Education programme. 

The winners were selected by a panel of newspaper editors and journalists, chaired by Professor Michael Foley. The overall winner of the 2019 Press Pass awards was John Flynn from Coláiste an Chraoibhín, Fermoy, Co. Cork for his Opinion piece on Scouting. 

Speaking about the winning piece, Prof. Michael Foley, Chairman of the Judging Panel said:

While it was so very difficult to pick an overall winner, at the end there was near unanimity. The winner showed at engagement with the subject, wrote with assurance and maturity and made a strong argument. The subject matter was something the writer knew about intimately and in terms of journalism it was topical and controversial.”

The audience made up of shortlisted students, their teachers and families also heard from Amy Molloy, the 2019 NewsBrands Ireland Young Journalist of the Year who discussed her passion for ground breaking journalism and offered advice to the aspiring journalists in the audience.  

Since the Press Pass programme launched seven years ago, approximately 90,000 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.

For the duration of the Press pass programme, participating schools receive newspapers, a specially created workbook, and a Teacher’s Lesson Plan, all 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. 

NewsBrands Ireland Chairman, Vincent Crowley commented on how positive it was that participation in the Press Pass programme is growing every year.  He added: 

“Irish newspapers are the voice of the people, their communities and their regions. We rely on the journalists to tell us what is happening in the world – and why.  And we rely on young people like our talented finalists gathered here today to continue the tradition of writing and reporting the news, uncovering truths, and separating fact from fiction.”

Trophies were also awarded in five other categories: Features, Opinion, News, Sport and Photojournalism.

NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass 2019 winners

Overall winner

 John Flynn, Coláiste an Chraoibhín, Fermoy


1st Jessica Moir, Moville Community College, Co. Donegal

2nd Maria Finnegan, Our Lady’s School, Terenure 

3rd Leah Getkate, Pobailscoil Chorca Dhuibhne , An Daingean


1st Sophie Rosenau, Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal 

2nd Seamus Ó Loingsigh, Pobailscoil ChorcaDhuibhne , An Daingean

3rd Weronika Piasecka, Scoil Dara, Kilcock 


1st Alice Larkin, Coláiste Muire, Ennis

2nd Aisling Ní Chonchúir, Pobailscoil Chorca Dhuibhne , An Daingean

3rd Shane Roche, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney


1st Chloe Coughlan, Jesus & Mary College, Goatstown

2nd Matthew Hogan, Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal

3rd Ellie Raftery, Mount Sackville, Chapelizod


1st Rebecca Keane, Coláiste Muire, Ennis

2nd Leah Phelan, Coláiste Pobail Osraí, Kilkenny

3rd Radisha Fernando, St Mary’s Secondary School, Macroom 


For further information about Press Pass:

Please contact Lisa Buckley: (087) 7779259 /