THE Clare Champion’s Dan Danaher has been nominated for a 2016 Agricultural Journalism Award.
Organised by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, these bi-annual awards seek to encourage excellence in the coverage of farming, food and rural life in Ireland.
Mr Danaher is one of three nominated for the Best Print Feature award, for his coverage of the 60th anniversary of the Clare IFA.
In November of last year, Dan was responsible for over two pages of coverage of the milestone. There were 55 entries in the category and he has been shortlisted alongside Declan O’Brien of the Farming Independent and Patrick Donohoe of the Irish Farmers Journal.
Dan acknowledged he is an admirer of the work done by the IFA. “There are a lot of volunteers who play an active role who are not paid and who do a lot of work on behalf of the members.”
Speaking about his coverage of the 60th anniversary, he said one of his favourite aspects of it had been interviewing Tom Lane, a son of former IFA president Paddy Lane. “The most memorable thing was about Tom Lane; the perspective of someone growing up in a household where farming politics was very much to the fore, his views on that and how the IFA has changed. I thought the perspectives of the different IFA chairmen I interviewed was also interesting. This came at the time of the whole controversy over the payments to the IFA executive. It was a far cry from the time of Tom Cahill. He used to cycle from Corofin to Ennis and get a bus to Limerick and then a train to Dublin. He was the first prominent Clare IFA leader.”
A passionate advocate for rural development, Dan feels that encouraging people to live away from Dublin City can ease housing shortages and congestion in the city, as well as boosting rural areas.
He also has strong views about the importance of farming to rural life. “I grew up on a dairy farm. I’m from a very rural area in West Limerick and I feel passionate about the fact that farmers play a huge role in any rural community. In my view they are the lifeblood of a rural community and if farming doesn’t survive, then rural Ireland will be gone. It is vital that they thrive for the survival of local rural communities.”
The judging panel for the awards include Alan Dukes (chairman), public affairs consultant and former government minister; Sheila Reilly, editor Longford Leader; Ray Ryan, former agricultural correspondent with the Irish Examiner; Joe O’Brien, former agricultural correspondent at RTÉ; Dr Pat Wall, professor of public health, UCD and Richard Wright, former agricultural correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland.
The Clare Champion has also won an Irish Water Regional Media Appreciation Award, in recognition of its coverage of a number of topics related to drowning prevention and water safety over the last year. This award will be presented by Minister Simon Coveney at a ceremony in Dublin Castle on Tuesday next.
Finally, The Champion has also been nominated for an Irish Print Award. These awards recognise the best of the country’s print sector and are regarded as the leading independent awards for the industry in Ireland. The winners will be announced on November 25.