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DCU launches exhibition of the award-winning journalism of the late Mary Raftery

DCU launches exhibition of the award-winning journalism of the late Mary Raftery

Dublin City University have launched a major exhibition this evening (Thursday, April 25th) on the journalism of the late Mary Raftery – the groundbreaking journalist whose work resulted in the establishment of two government Commissions of Inquiry.

The university has also announced details of a new journalism industry prize for investigative journalism - The Mary Raftery Prize.

Mary Raftery passed away in 2012, but her legacy as one of the most influential journalists of the past half-century continues to inspire successive generations entering the profession.

Titled ‘Fearless: The Journalism of Mary Raftery’, the exhibition launch coincides with the 20th anniversary of the airing of Raftery’s three-part television documentary series States of Fear (RTÉ, 1999).

Based on extensive research and the personal testimony of survivors of the industrial school system, the series prompted an apology from the Irish Government and resulted in the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the schools.

The exhibition also features her subsequent documentary, Cardinal Secrets (RTÉ, 2002), which resulted in another commission of inquiry, this time into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

The exhibition also examines Raftery’s early journalism in magazines such as In Dublin and Magill in which she tackled a range of issues from planning to property speculation, the drugs trade and environmental pollution.

In addition, it highlights her work at RTÉ, for which she was named as the “Woman Journalist of the Year” in 1985 for her documentary on the mistreatment of patients in Irish psychiatric hospitals.

DCU is also pleased to announce the establishment of a new journalism industry award – The Mary Raftery Prize – which will be awarded annually to an individual or small team responsible for journalistic work produced on the island of Ireland which, in the view of the judges, combines the rigorous analysis and commitment to social justice which characterised Mary Raftery’s journalism and resulted in a significant impact on society.

The prize is funded by a bequest from the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund and is sponsored by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

The first prize will be awarded in 2020 for work produced in 2019. It will be administered by DCU’s School of Communications with an independent panel of judges selecting the winner.

Commenting on the exhibition, the President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith said:

“Twenty years on from States of Fear, it’s hard to overstate the impact of Mary Raftery’s landmark documentary series - not just on Irish journalism, but on the way we view the history of our state, and its treatment of marginalised and vulnerable members of our society.

This exhibition is a welcome reminder of what quality journalism and committed journalists can achieve.”

Commenting on the new journalism industry prize BAI Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said:

“The BAI is very pleased to support the annual ‘Mary Raftery Prize’, which will acknowledge the journalistic work of an individual or small team who have demonstrated good practice in ethical journalism and which has resulted in a significant impact on society.

The Prize, launched today, is a fitting tribute to a fearless pioneer of investigative journalism.”

Also commenting on the prize, the former chair of the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund, David Waddell, stated that:

“The family and friends of Mary Raftery look forward to working with DCU and the BAI to continue outreach and activities that will advocate for, and support, quality, investigative journalism”.

The exhibition – at DCU’s O’Reilly Library at the Glasnevin Campus – is free of charge and open to the public during normal library opening hours.