Patrick's Wexford People pic named photograph of the year
Photographer Patrick Browne and the Wexford People scooped the Photograph of the Year accolade at the National Lottery-sponsored Local Ireland Media Awards in Athlone last Thursday night.
The picture, published in the Wexford People in April of last year under the headline 'Politics has its ups and downs', portrayed Wexford Councillor George Lawlor stuck in a glass-walled lift during last year's Labour Party conference in Clayton White's Hotel. Patrick Browne captured Cllr Lawlor in communication by mobile with his highly-amused party leader Brendan Howlin as the lift doors refused to budge.
The New Ross based photographer was presented with his award by Bunclody man Frank Mulrennan, President, Local Ireland, and Dermot Griffin, CEO, National Lottery. He was congratulated by MC for the evening, RTE sports broadcaster Marty Morrissey. People Newspapers was also represented at the ceremony in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, by Jim Hayes, Editor, while Michael Ryan, Director of Operations, INM Regionals - East, was also among those in attendance.
Patrick Browne's winning photograph was one of three nominated in the Photograph of the Year category, alongside images from John Kelly of the Clare Champion and Ann Hennessey of the Westmeath Independent.
Explaining how the picture came about, Patrick said he was covering the conference in the hotel's main function room when he heard 'a bit of chatter at the back of the room about someone stuck in a lift'.
'I ducked out to see what the commotion was and saw George and Brendan. I was going to rush down the stairs but didn't think I'd make it, so I just took the shot. I suppose I was in the right place at the right time.'
Editor Jim Hayes congratulated Patrick and said he was delighted that the Wexford People was associated with 'a perfectly timed photo resulting from a photographer thinking outside the box…and on his feet'.
The National Lottery-sponsored Local Ireland Media Awards, open to all 43 member newspaper titles, this year attracted more than 400 entries in a range of categories.
National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin, told the gathering that the company was honoured to be sponsoring the Local Media Awards for the very first time. 'Local newspapers provide a very important service in their communities and deserve to be supported. Even though they are facing many challenges, they are still a very important part of the media landscape in Ireland, delivering valued and trusted journalism on a weekly basis. The very high quality of entries in this year's Awards bears testament to this.'
On a night of celebration for local newspapers across Ireland, there was one particularly poignant moment as the Lifetime Achievement honour was awarded posthumously to Neill O'Neill, former managing editor of the Mayo News who died in October of last year at the age of just 34. This was greeted with a standing ovation as Neill's sister Aoife Burke accepted on behalf of the family.