Assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley calls for support for regional journalism following awards honour

  • 15 Apr 2024

Says award recognises power of local press

The vital role of regional media in the life of local communities was emphasised by  NUJ Assistant General Secretary Seamus Dooley at an awards ceremony in Ireland at the weekend. 

Dooley was accepting the Offaly Person of the Year award, hosted by the Offaly Association Dublin in Tullamore,  Co Offaly.  He is the first trade union official to be honoured in the 36-year history of the prestigious award.

Previous winners include former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and international golfer Shane Lowry.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Dooley said he regarded the honour as recognition of the way the local press can strengthen and affirm.

In an appeal that was greeted by sustained applause, he said: "Journalism is worth defending. In a world of misinformation and conspiracy theories we need to promote public interest journalism. You can help by paying your TV licence and by buying a newspaper.  

"Here in the Midlands you have some really dedicated local journalists. Please support them." 

The winner is chosen by a selection panel from the list of nominations made by readers of the local press in Offaly. Séamus is from a rural village, Ferbane, and began his career on the Tullamore Tribune. 

Recalling his career in journalist and the NUJ he said: "I have been lucky to take the road less travelled and have had many adventures along the way with the most wondeful travel companions.

“Whether it’s standing up for equality in Oman  - where I could have been jailed for speaking up for human rights - campaigning for marriage equality, representing workers on dodgy contracts, defending journalism in the Ukraine and Gaza or seeking to protect the values of public service journalism in the face of greed, incompetence and arrogance in Donnybrook, my approach has always been rooted in the belief that we are all called to be, in Seamus Heaney’s phrase, ‘ambassadors of conscience’.”

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