The Southern Star’s reporter Kieran O’Mahony was one of the major award winners at this year’s Local Ireland Media Awards
NEWCESTOWN native, reporter Kieran O’Mahony has won a Local Ireland National Lottery Media Award for the Best Community Story, for an article on Clonakilty Lodge direct provision centre.
‘It is a great honour to have won the award for the Best Community Story at this year’s Local Ireland Media awards,’ Kieran said, on receiving his award from The Southern Star’s managing director Sean Mahon, on behalf of Local Ireland – the representative association for the local newspaper industry. The usual awards ceremony didn’t go ahead this year, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, so awards were sent to the individual newspapers for a local presentation.
‘It was an important local story that I felt needed to be told,’ said Kieran O’Mahony, ‘and it’s about the residents of the direct provision centre at Clonakilty Lodge and their pleas to be respected and treated equally.’
Kieran met and spoke with the residents of the centre, to hear their concerns and worries about the realities of living in direct provision in Ireland.
‘We’re delighted that Kieran won this award and it’s just reward for his hard work, and especially for this important story that he highlighted so well,’ said Mr Mahon. ‘
This is an example of the vital role that local, community-based reporters and local newspapers play in delivering trusted news and information to people as well as shining a light on issues that need to be brought to the public’s attention.’
The National Lottery said this week that it was honoured to be sponsoring this year’s awards for the third consecutive year. The awards celebrate excellence in local journalism.
‘Local newspapers, such as The Southern Star, are the lifeblood of communities and hold a very important place in Irish society, providing a vital service that should be cherished and supported. While it has never been easier for people to access news they still turn to their local newspaper for reliable, trusted information,’ a spokesperson said.‘The need for such credible information has never been as important as in these challenging times we have found ourselves in this year.’
They added: ‘This partnership with Local Ireland is such a natural fit for the National Lottery. Like local newspapers, the National Lottery is embedded in communities all over Ireland through our network of over 5,500 retailers who sell our games.
‘We are proud of the contribution of the National Lottery to communities through our Good Causes fund.
Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on National Lottery games goes back in the areas of youth, sports, recreation, amenities, health, welfare, arts, culture, national heritage and the Irish language.’
Last year alone, €252m was raised for approximately 4,000 local sports clubs, community organisations and charities across the country. National Lottery retailers in Ireland benefitted to the tune of almost €51m in commission. There were €497.5m in prizes in 2019.
‘When we look at Cork specifically, where 143,000 people, on average, play National Lottery games every week and all our Cork players won a total sum of €41.7m in prizes last year,’ the spokesperson added.
‘There are over 600 retailers in Cork who sell National Lottery games and in excess of €5m was paid to those retailers in commission. More than 700 such Good Causes projects were supported across Cork in the past two years.’
Local media is essential to keeping communities connected and continues to play a major role in both shaping and reflecting the people it serves in every village, parish and town in the country.