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Radio documentary on school stand-off wins gold award in New York

Grey Heron Media has won a gold medal at the prestigious New York Festivals Awards for the documentary which captured the dramatic story of the stand-off.

A crowd gatehred at the gate of the school during the stand-off.
A crowd gatehred at the gate of the school during the stand-off.
Image: Grey Heron Media

A RADIO DOCUMENTARY about a stand-off at a Limerick school has won a prestigious international award.

Grey Heron Media, a media production firm based in Kilfinane, Co Limerick, has won a gold medal at the prestigious New York Festivals Awards for its radio documentary, ‘Take No More’.


The award-winning documentary captured live the dramatic story of the stripping of a local primary school in Kilfinane by sub-contractors and the struggle by the local community to solve the resulting stand-off between sub-contractors, teachers and parents.

Parents had blocked the entrance to the school after subcontractors attempted to remove many of its fittings, claiming they were owed money from the main building contractor.

Work had begun on the school a few months before the contractor went bust, and the principal of the school Siobhan O’Flynn told at the time that there had been ‘snags’ after it reopened.

The situation was eventually resolved.

The New York Festivals organisation oversees six international awards in media and advertising and the judges come from five continents and 30 countries around the world.

‘Take No More’ competed against entries from more than 28 countries. It was first broadcast on 15 December 2012 on RTE Radio 1 as part of the Documentary on One.

Diarmuid McIntyre, Head of Grey Heron Media, said:

It’s great to see the creative and collaborative work of Grey Heron Media gaining international recognition.

Pic: Grey Heron Media

The documentary was produced by Grey Heron Media’s team of Diarmuid McIntyre, Mary McDonnell and Mairead O’Connor for RTÉ Radio One’s Documentary on One. Sound supervision for the production was carried out by RTÉ’s Liam O’Brien.

‘Take No More’ focuses on the dramatic events of the 22 November 2012, when seven white vans driven by subcontractors arrived at the newly built primary school in Kilfinane.

Within minutes, stunned parents blockaded the subcontractors vans as they tried to leave the school grounds. A standoff ensued, and the team at Grey Heron Media were on the spot from the beginning, recording the voices of all sides as the negotiations dragged on into the evening.

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Grey Heron Media said:

Although, on the surface, the story of the documentary is a very local one, an account of a small community struggling to survive in the midst of economic hardship, this local story has many national and international resonances, as evidenced by the gold medal award in New York. ‘Take No More’ not only highlights the strains that the international recession is placing on local communities on the ground, but it also demonstrates the power of community spirit and the importance of the community ties which bring people back together.

Classic Hits

Classic Hits 4FM won two awards at the event, with Niall Boylan at Night winning a bronze award for the second year running, in the Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Programme category.

The station also picked up a bronze in the Community Service category for Wish Week, due to raising money for the Make A Wish Foundation Ireland.

Classic Hits 4FM Programme Director Andy Matthews said: “I’m delighted that our programming has been recognised at such a high standard and I’m also delighted that Irish radio is still regarded as world quality”. 

Read: Construction group calls for passing of law to avoid further Kilfinane school incidents>

Read: Situation being resolved at Kilfinane school>

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