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Newry ready for the31st annual Celtic Media Festival

The 31st annual Celtic Media Festival takes place in Newry, Northern Ireland from 21st-23rd April.  Last held in Northern Ireland in Belfast in 2003, this is only the fourth time the festival has been hosted in Northern Ireland and the first time in Newry. 


The three day event will see some of the most influential names from the broadcasting and film industries gather at The Canal Court Hotel in the city to celebrate the quality and diversity of work being produced by the Celtic nations today.


This year's keynote address will be delivered by Bob Collins, the inaugural Chair of the newly established Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.  In a coup for the festival, he'll speak publicly for the first time on the major issues facing the industry, across the Celtic nations and regions.  


Renowned investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre will discuss a career that has seen him lift the lid on far right extremism, abuse of the elderly within the care home system and some of the most notorious British gangsters.  In conversation with the BBC's Marie Louise Muir, Donal will explore the risks and ethics of undercover journalism and what the future holds for him now that he is one of the most recognisable faces on television.


Acclaimed director Dearbhla Walsh will speak with Radio Ulster's John Toal about her career to date, current projects and future plans.   From winning three awards at the Celtic Media Festival in the 1990s to collecting an Emmy Award for directing LITTLE DORRIT in 2009, her varied credits include dramas such as SHAMELESS, THE TUDORS and the recently completed THE SILENCE for the BBC. 


The turbulent history of The Troubles will be the focus of ‘Modern Faction', a debate examining the often controversial genre of drama documentary.  Contributors will include Neil Mackay, writer of recent Channel 4 biopic MO, Guy Hibbert, co-writer of OMAGH and Stephen Wright, executive producer, BBC NI Drama.


With a general election in the UK only weeks away,‘The Rise of Political Blogging' will be discussed by Mick Fealty (Slugger O'Toole) and Joan McAlpine (Go Lassie Go!) in a session chaired by Stuart Cosgrove, Director, Nations & Regions, Channel 4.


Other themes explored during the festival will include cross border funding, multimedia platforms, the future of the Ulster Scots tongue in broadcasting and the thorny issue of under representation of Northern Irish daily life on UK television. 


One of the highlight of this year's event is sure to be the presentation of Bronze Torcs for Excellence in 21 categories.   The awards celebrate the very best of film, television, radio and digital media to emerge from within the Celtic diaspora with Celtic languages featuring prominently across all categories.   The awards will be presented by the BBC's Karen Kirby and RTE's Dónal Mac Ruairí.


The chairman of The Celtic Media Festival is RTÉ's Director General Cathal Goan and he believes the event is a key date in the media industry calendar:


"In the context of a difficult financial climate, the industry needs real focus and the Celtic Media Festival is a great opportunity for practitioners to examine key roles and look towards the future.  It's great that we're back in Northern Ireland and especially to Newry, an area with many historic connections and a vibrant Irish language history.  The 2010 Festival delivers an informative and exciting programme of events and is an important date in the media calendar."


For further information on this year's programme for The Celtic Media Festival, please visit:

For all press enquiries, interview requests and accreditation, please contact:


Paul Rice

Tel:   +44 (0) 7796 612 588



Notes to the editor:

  • The Celtic Media Festival is from 21st-23rd April 2010 and is being held at the conferencing suites of The Canal Court Hotel, Newry. 


  • The Celtic Media Festival's aim is to promote the languages and cultures of the Celtic countries on screen and in broadcasting. The Celtic Media Festival is supported by broadcast, film, cultural and economic development organisations throughout the Celtic countries.


  • The Festival is an annual three-day celebration of broadcasting, film talent and excellence from Scotland, Rep Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.


  • One of the Festival highlights will be the presentation of the Bronze Torcs for Excellence. 21Torcs are to be won in categories which include factual series, arts, drama, sport, current affairs, children's programmes, interactivity and radio station of the year.   To view the shortlist visit:



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