“And this because in everything he does, commentary, analysis, exposés — he is driven by the three basic characteristics of good journalism in any paper on any topic and at any age: evidence, accuracy, and fair-mindedness... and good writing of course.”
Broadcaster Matt Cooper, who hosted the awards, paid a special mention to Mr Clifford, describing him as a “fantastic journalist”.
Other categories in the awards were Front Page of the Year, Headline of the Year, and Scoop of the Year.
Front Page of the Year was won by the Herald newspaper for its report of the Regency hotel shooting. The front page carried a photo of two men, dressed as police officers, walking into the hotel with the headline ‘Hotel Killers’.
Scoop of the Year went to the Sunday World for its coverage of the shooting, with a story called ‘Dress to Kill’, which was a firsthand account of the attack.
The award for Investigative Journalism went to Peter Murtagh in the Irish Times
for his long-form articles. Young Journalist of the Year was awarded to Sean Dunne of the Irish Mail on Sunday.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was the guest speaker in the Mansion House yesterday and said journalists play an in important part in protecting our democracy.
“Journalists play a key role in enhancing transparency and accountability,” she said.
Commenting on the upcoming review of Irish defamation legislation, she said that balance must be sought in public discourse.
“It’s important that we do strike the right balance between two important rights, the right to freedom of expression in a democratic society and the right to protect your good name and reputation against unfounded attack,” she said.
“In politics and in journalism words are our most important tool.
“It was Orwell who maintained that the slovenliness of our language makes it is easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”