Fintan O’Toole wins LGBT Gala award for journalism
Irish Times columnist described as ‘a passionate voice for equality’
The Gala award judges described Fintan O’Toole as ‘a passionate voice for equality and liberal progressive values’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole has been named journalist of the year at the Gala LGBT awards.
The judges of this year’s awards described Mr O’Toole as “a passionate voice for equality and liberal progressive values”.
Now in their fifth year, the awards honour public figures, organisations and individuals committed to advancing equality and social acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland.
“[MR O’TOOLE’S] countless articles in the mainstream media have done much to promote the visibility of our community and to raise awareness about the issues facing LGBT people in modern Ireland,” chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation Olivia McEvoy said.
The Irish Prison Service took the award for best employer, while Senator Averil Power won the prize for political figure of the year. Panti Bliss, aka Rory O’Neill, won best website for PantiBlog, while the Red Ribbon Project in Limerick took the Noel Walsh HIV activism award.
At the awards ceremony at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on Saturday evening, Ms McEvoy said recent debates over same-sex marriage have highlighted how far LGBT campaigners still have to go before equality and social acceptance is achieved.
“This makes it all the more important to pause on our busy life journeys to acknowledge those whose vision, time, commitment and energy is making those life journeys better now and in the future,” she said.
“It is going to take a gargantuan human effort to build a culture in Ireland where diversity and difference is really celebrated and where people can be their true selves in life. Tonight is about taking the time to thank those who are the providing the building blocks for that culture.”
Other winners included the Dublin Devils for sports group of the year, Carlow IT LGBT for student society of the year, Bear Feile for event of the year, Davina Devine for Irish entertainer of the year, GLEN for community organisation of the year, INTO LGBT Teachers Group for voluntary organisation of the year, and Shai Gillespie of Foyle Gay Pride for volunteer of the year.
I Heart Alice Heart I took the Irish arts and literature award, while Anna Rodgers’ short film Novena won the Irish television and film award.