Winners of the 2021 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery, unveiled in virtual broadcast

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2 December 2021. The winners of the 2021 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards were announced tonight in a virtual broadcast.

The annual industry awards, which are run by NewsBrands Ireland and sponsored by the National Lottery, took a different format once again this year due to Covid-19 and instead of the traditional Mansion House awards lunch were broadcast via  and featured host Matt Cooper and members of the Journalism Awards judging panel announcing the winners.

23 category awards were announced, and the prestigious overall Journalist of the Year award was jointly presented to Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford from the Irish Examiner for their ground-breaking ‘GolfGate’ story.

Announcing the Journalist of the Year winner for 2021, on behalf of the members of the independent judging panel, Tim Vaughan, Chairman of the Judging Panel, said that:

“This year’s winner goes to two journalists whose work sparked a stunning cocktail of disbelief and incandescent fury — and which had immediate, serious consequences. It was one of the great, great scoops — a classic that made headlines around the world, from the BBC to the New York Times.

The story of the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden — attended by senior politicians, an EU Commissioner, and a Supreme Court judge the day after Covid-19 restrictions were tightened in August 2020 —was like a political bomb going off, such was its impact, and the raw public rage it sparked. Golfgate, as it inevitably became known, resulted in the biggest  fall-out of any political controversy for decades, claiming the jobs of the Minister for Agriculture, Dara Calleary,  the Leas Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Jerry Buttimer, and, of course, Phil Hogan, the EU Trade Commissioner. It also led to an unprecedented legal stand-off between the Chief Justice, Frank Clarke, and Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe, who was called on to resign.

This was highly impactful public interest journalism, by any standards, and it has earned the Irish Examiner’s Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford the coveted title of Journalist of the Year 2021.”

Speaking about the Awards, NewsBrands Ireland CEO Ann Marie Lenihan, said:

“Our annual Awards recognise and celebrate the very best in Irish journalism and this year, despite the many challenges the pandemic has brought, has been another very strong year for fact checked, high quality journalism and for Irish publishers. Sincere thanks to our partners at the National Lottery, for their continued support and for helping to make the Journalism Awards such a success.”

2021 Journalism Awards winners

Arts Journalism & Criticism: Patrick Freyne, The Irish Times

Business Journalist: Joe Brennan, The Irish Times

Campaigning Journalism: Irish Examiner

Crime Journalist: Michael O’ Toole, Irish Daily Star

Broadsheet Columnist: Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times

Popular Columnist: Maeve Quigley, Irish Daily Mail

Digital News Coverage:

Broadsheet Features: Lara Marlowe, The Irish Times

Popular Features: Michael Doyle, The Irish Sun

Foreign Coverage: Marion McKeone, Business Post

Front Page: Irish Examiner

Headline: Irish Daily Star

Investigative Journalism: Mostafa Darwish, Irish Examiner

Newspaper Magazine: Irish Country Living, Irish Farmers Journal

News Reporter: Craig Hughes, Irish Daily Mail and The Irish Mail on Sunday

Political Journalist: Naomi O’ Leary, The Irish Times

Scoop: Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford, Irish Examiner

Showbiz Journalist: Sandra Mallon, Irish Daily Star

Broadsheet Sports Journalist: Keith Duggan, The Irish Times

Popular Sports Journalist: Kieran Cunningham, Irish Daily Star

Best Video Journalism: Kathleen Harris, The Irish Times

Podcast of the Year: Nicola Tallant, Sunday World

Young Journalist of the Year: Rosanna Cooney, Business Post

Journalist of the Year: Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford, Irish Examiner

The winning work can be read on

Addressing the audience, Colm O’ Reilly, Chairman of NewsBrands Ireland, spoke about the future of journalism in Ireland and said:

“2022 is a critical juncture for public service journalism in this country and the Irish publishing industry. In the coming months we expect the report from the Future of Media Commission to be released and for the first draft of a new Defamation Bill to start its journey through the legislative process. Both of these events have the potential to have a profound impact on our industry.

“The Future of Media Commission is a once in a generation opportunity for the government to develop a holistic national media policy, and to level the playing field for indigenous Irish media operators in the face of the dominance of the global tech platforms. We hope they grasp this golden opportunity and don’t fail us. Equally, reform of the Defamation Laws and returning a sense of balance is hugely important to publishers. The high level of awards and related legal costs are jeopardising the very financial viability of local and national news publishers alike.”

Also addressing the Awards, Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said

“These awards recognise the immense contribution of journalism to society. Journalism, at its best informs us as citizens, engages us a society and challenges us as public representatives. It is a public good and I recognise it as such. We have seen in real time during the global pandemic the significant role of trusted, reputable news sources and this is to the forefront in Ireland where the work of this sector has been crucial in combating disinformation.”

Speaking at the Awards broadcast, Andrew Algeo, CEO of awards sponsor, the National Lottery, said:

“In these unprecedented and unpredictable times, we need great journalism to uncover, to explain, to challenge, and to give perspective to what we are all experiencing. We, at the National Lottery are delighted to be associated with these Awards and would like to congratulate all the finalists and winners this year.”

The overall winners are chosen by the independent judging panel, presided over by Chairman of the judging panel, Tim Vaughan. The independent judging panel is composed of over 60 individuals who all shares expertise, passion and interest in quality journalism. This year’s panel can be viewed here.

The shortlisted and winning work can all be read on

The year’s virtual broadcast was produced by Business Post events.