Award named after late student journalist Joe Drennan

University of Limerick designed the award to honour pioneering spirit of student who died when hit by a car last year

A journalism award is to be named after a 21-year-old student killed when hit by a car while standing at a bus stop in Limerick last year.

Details of the competition were unveiled at a function at the University of Limerick on Thursday attended by many members of the family of the late student, Joe Drennan.

The award run by the college in association with The Irish Times honours the Laois-born student, who had been in his fourth year at the university when he died on October 13th, 2023.

He was editor in chief of Limerick Voice – the university’s print and digital publication – run by its journalism faculty at the time of his death.

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Dr Kathryn Hayes, associate professor, BA Journalism and Digital Communication, at UL said the award was designed to honour Joe’s pioneering spirit and the impact he made during his time at the college.

“Joe was committed to pursuing stories that would foster a deeper understanding of marginalised communities, whom he believed were often overlooked in some mainstream media. His desire for change is evident in the journalism work he produced and the vision he had for his role as editor in chief of Limerick Voice,” she said.

In his role he urged reporters to “find a voice that they themselves had not heard before”, she added. “We believe this competition will help contribute to a more inclusive and diverse media landscape and is a fitting tribute to Joe.”

Joe’s mother, Marguerite, said the Drennan family were extremely proud to know Joe would continue to provide inspiration to others. “I’m very proud of Joe. I’m so delighted with the college for what they have done today, and I’m so grateful to everyone who showed up. It means so much to us,” she said.

The award this year is open to all UL students.

Limerick Voice is produced by final year journalism students in UL and published with The Limerick Leader.

A 20-year-old man was charged in January with dangerous driving causing the death of Joe Drennan. Kieran Fogarty of Hyde Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick was also charged with driving without insurance or a licence.

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