Slugger Awards: And the final results are….

If you want to catch up the night as it happened on Twitter, put in the hastag #Slugger11. But here is the definitive results from the Belfast jury:

(1) Investigative journalism

Darragh MacIntyre – For his work on the Iris Robinson story, which had enormous political impact, and a knock-on effect throughout the system – and it might be said has helped change the tone of the politics that were to follow. The award is made in recognition of the huge amount of background work that went into the making and delivery of the programme.

(2) Political Journalist

Mark Devenport – The panel felt that Mark’s blog, the Devenport Diaries, provides insight and a go-to venue for a cogent understanding the back life of Stormont and the issues of the day. They also felt that his urbane and relaxed style belies his reputation as an intelligent and reliable source for explaining the complex and often bafflingly arcane processes at work in Stormont.

(3) Building Trust and Credibility in Politics

Martin McGuinness – Sinn Fein’s deputy First Minister helped to soothe a lot of passionate opposition to the Derry/ Londonderry City of Culture Bid from his own Republican community. He was also praised as one of the most emotionally intelligent politicians in Northern Ireland. For example, his light hearted use of “Londonderry” the deputy First Minister has begun to develop the beginnings of a provisional trust in the Unionist community. His attendance at the East Belfast Talks Back event this year was also noted.

(4) Constructive Opposition

Dawn Purvis, Patsy McGlone and John Dallat of the Public Accounts Committee – The panel felt it was important to mark out for special attention the names of those committee members who they felt had played an outstanding leadership role in their handling of the Northern Ireland water issue – not least in asking the right questions and refusing to be fobbed off with evasive or insubstantial answers. The panel felt it was an important example to others – in a system that has woefully poor provision for rigorous scrutiny.

(5) Up and Coming Politician

Colum Eastwood – In his mid twenties, Colum is the youngest ever Mayor of the Derry City Council. Already a substantial figure with a strong political base of his own, the panel took the view that Colum had helped to persuade his own party and ran what was, at times, a very difficult campaign for the UK City of Culture. He’s now the first ever councillor to win this particular award.

(6) Creative Engagement

DUP Party Conference – This was the near unanimous choice of the judging panel. The panel were impressed both by the progressive nature of the conference speeches as well as the profound change in direction towards outreach out to a broader base of the community and get more people involved in politics from the leadership down. Non-members were invited onto the podium to challenge the party. Attendees left with a sense of being taken seriously.

(7) Thinker and Explainer

William Crawley – He was BBC NI’s first blogger. He has never been afraid to follow his own instincts or to be hemmed in by purely local issues. Whether on his blog, or on Sunday Sequence, he deals with controversial issues with directness and intelligence. And provides an important challenge function at a time when there is a tendency towards dumbing-down.

(8) Campaign of the Year

The Bloody Sunday campaign – A long but dignified campaign seeking justice for the people killed in January 1972. Finally in 2010, after years of campaigning, success was secured with the publication of the Saville Report and an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron, vindicating the years of effort by the families and the campaigners.

(9) Politician of the Year

Naomi Long – for an extraordinarily well orchestrated campaign in East Belfast during the 2010 General Election. The panel felt it was one of the few occasions when an unremittingly positive campaign paid off. And it was a game changer for the Alliance to win their first Westminster seat. Twenty years’ work with a good team helped confound the bookmakers and surprise all of the pundits (including me!).

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  • Rory Carr

    This is astounding! I find absolutely nothing to bitch about in final selection. Well done everyone.

    I must admit to being heartbroken over Conall McDevitt’s failure to win in either of the categories in which he was nominated but I expect that I’ll get over it after a nice cuppa and a Kit-Kat.

  • USA

    I agree, well done to the selection committee.

  • Rocketeer

    I hope that the night went well. I think by and large the choices were good, particularly Colum Eastwood but I don’t agree with Naomi’s selection but then again that category was extremely weak.

  • pippakin

    Well done, the right decisions were made I think. I hope everyone had a good time.

  • Mark McGregor

    I was disgusted to see armed men in the room to facilitate David Ford getting in on Naomi Long’s photos.

    First time any Slugger event has required people with firearms – hopefully people that feel they need armed supporters with them just stay away in future.

    Shame on APNI for bringing guns into the venue. Why did the armed man have to enter the room?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A hopeful sign…….Mr McGregor CAN report on armed men in the vicinity.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I cant of course comment on the Journalism awards. But like Mr Rory Carr, I find it odd that I have no serious problems with the “political” awards.
    The exception might be that Conall McDevitt should have got the nod over Mr Eastwood. While both are up and coming although its easy to forget that Conall McDevitt has just completed is first year in the Assembly.

    Mr Eastwood is “up and coming” at a local level. And perhaps this should have been a factor in the decision of the judges (whose names are to be announced later).
    But congrats to them all.

  • Mark McGregor


    I was not in a position to shoot Mr Ford. I don’t have or wish to have a gun.

    He brought people into the room that glared at the rest of us with the intention of pumping bullets into us if we got out of hand.

    No offence. Mr Ford and his armed gang can feck right off – nobody else found the need to turn up with gunmen.

    Let’s be totally honest – Naomi brought supporters that had friends with shooters.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I feel almost relieved at your first paragraph.
    Yet it strikes me as a tad over-sensitive (and it may or may not be shared by the “rest of us”) to feel that you were being glared at…by Mr Fords Security detail.
    I am sure nobody at a Slugger O’Toole Awards Night would “get out of hand”. I daresay there are protocols for pumping bullets into people and armed security personnel (made necessary by the security situation caused by dissident republicans) are aware of them. “Getting out of hand” such as “are you looking at my missus mate?” is unlikely to feature high on their list of priorities.

    “Getting out of hand” in the sense of attacking the Minister of Justice (or indeed your good self or anyone else there) in a life threatening way might actually produce an armed response.

  • Rory Carr

    Having just learned (from an earlier thread that I had missed) that Mark had proposed both FJH and meself for inclusion on the adjudication panel, I suspect that the authorities got wind of it and that the armed response unit were on hand just in case I turned up and started singing after a few snifters.

    A sensible precaution.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    ah the judging panel was so secretive that I didnt even know I was on it. 🙂

  • Can’t beat a badly tailored suit and a man with his hands clasped across the groin and roving eyes.
    Anyhoo great night all round despite what mark says AND i got to meet the CIA head of station (I think)

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I am kinda curious…Was the the CIA Head of Station by any chance a woman? I was told that a few months ago.

  • Can’t tell ya have to kill ya…you know the drill

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    It looks like the Slugger Awards night would make a pretty good screenplay 🙂

  • USA

    Yes, does sound like a Belfast version of “One flew over the Cukoo’s nest”. I also agree with those who feel Conall McDevitt was worthy of greater recognition. To my mind he is a most articulate, well informed, energetic and visionary young man to grace the local political stage in some time.

  • joeCanuck

    Over the top, Mark. Wise up; weak attempt at humour I hope.

  • fordprefect

    “I daresay there are protocols for pumping bullets into people”, hmmm, tell that to the family of Jean Charles de Menezes (to name but one) that!

  • pippakin

    In the days when I came into contact with them I always thought that the lower down the pecking order a VIP was the more obvious and amateur his/her security detail.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    Do you not feel a tad double-standarish being a crpyto-apologist for the dissers and complaining that one of their probable targets might wish to protect himself form the work they are carrying out on ‘behalf of’ the people of Ireland?


    It is a feaure of the wisdom of police not carrying weapons (as standard) that there are not many on the mainland to name.

  • Carsons Cat

    How does abandoning an important vote in Parliament qualify you to win politician of the year?

    By skipping off to the Slugger Awards Naomi wasn’t able to help support one of her causes after having spoken eloquently on the subject – letting prisoners vote.

  • Cynic2


    I was one of his PSNI Guards I would glare at you too. An obvious security risk as your intemperate outburst and rant shows. But look on the positive side. These days they would probably only Taser you, not use real bullets.

    But why do you hate the police so much? What did they ever do to you? A speeding ticket? Parking on double yellow lines?

  • Cynic2

    “letting prisoners vote”

    Perhaps she realized that:

    1 it was a hopeless cause

    2 most people dont want it

  • Cynic2

    “Can’t beat a badly tailored suit”

    It must be hard to fit all those guns, tasers, CS spray and handcuffs below it as well as the weapons of mass destruction – all intended for poor Mark.

    Still, without that to draw attention to himself, what could he have posted about last night. I can’t recall many of his posts that are positive

  • Rory Carr

    I feel USA’s pain resulting from his disappointment at Conall McDevitt’s failure to win any award. I really do.

    I was able to console myself with a nice cuppa tea and a Kit-Kat, but perhaps Kit-Kats are not available to him in the Land of Plenty. Maybe he should consider taking advice from that great American fount of wisdom, the Reader’s Digest, which counsels that “Laughter is the Best Medicine”.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    ford prefect……I would not have to go as far as Southwell Tube Station to find a breach of protocol in respect of pumping bullets into people.
    But Im comforted in knowing that had there been a breach last night……there would have been an Inquiry.

  • Turgon

    Spare a thought for the poor PSNI officer: some of his mates probably get to protect interesting charismatic people (or even people who got their ministerial position by the proper – if flawed- mechanism of getting lots of seats in Stormont). He only gets to protect David Ford.

    In no way should we misjudge this gentleman but maybe Ford, since he is justice minister has discovered (from the securocrats: not that they would let him know anything) that his bodyguard was not interested / no use / whatever.

    Hence, the Alliance master plan came into force. Naomi Long came back from her need to get the vote for prisoners and was there to protect / overshaddow Ford. I am sure she would have dived in front of any bullet that any dissident would have wanted to fire at Ford.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    pippakin…..the more minor the VIP (or Minor Important Person) the more likely he is to crave the attention of a security detail.
    I dont move in the circles that VIPs and MIPs move in but I was once in an elevator and Peter Brooke got into it with a flunky and a couple of heavies who “asked” the people already in the lift to get out. ……to make way for the VIP.
    I was half asleep, didnt realise what was going on and was a bit slow to move and the security people thought they had already cleared the lift so I found myself going up with the Secretary of State and his entourage. And the security men were giving me the evil eye.
    In all honesty I was not as intimidated by the incident as the Sluggerites are reported to have been last night.
    I mean its an amazingly amusing anecdote (as Im sure you agree) and I have been dining out on it for years now.

  • Greenflag

    Congrats to the organizers and judges /results committee . Looks like they made all the right decisions -Pity about armed protectors being present but given that there are still ‘nutters’ out there who believe that ‘violence’ is still the answer but have forgotten the question -a necessary safeguard.

    McGregor -wise up and stop being an eejit -you are smarter than that !

  • @Carson’s Cat

    Parliament has pairing arrangements. It’s only gesture politics to insist on being in the chamber unless the various whips demand it.

  • Paul, pairing works on whipped votes, whereas the vote on prisoner voting all 77 Ministers and Whips were instructed to abstain, but all other Conservative MPs had a free vote on a one-line whip. Unlikely therefore to pair. She’s just a wee lost soul of one in Westminster.

  • Cynic2


    Kit Kats are available in the Land of Plenty but only to those ‘in the know’

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    All good choices.

    On Devenport’s blog, not his fault, but I was amused / baffled to have a comment removed for being “potentially libellous” this week. I was responding to his comments about Francie Molloy’s support for hare-coursing – sorry, too good to resist – and pointed out that it wouldn’t be Molloy’s first defence of sadistic cruelty. Unfairly attacking the esteemed rodent-botherer and unapologetic terrorism supporter’s “reputation”? Hmm. Methinks the BBC junior involved skipped basic libel law training.

  • Mainland U, the BBC removed some of my material from its Talkback messageboard on the grounds that it was ‘potentially libellous’ too.

    I was merely regaling other contributors with yarns about the fictional developer Patsy McCash, two politicos Ben Gore and Croyer Hill, newspapers such as the Tonduff Tribune and the Ballintoy Bugle and the barmaids in a delightful coastal hostelry known as the Pleasures of Plaiskin. Burning Passions was a combined bookshop and massage parlour – there had been a long running TB discussion on book burning – and A Clip Behind the Ear was the barber’s shop where I got some of my raw material.

    Those knowledgeable in place names will recognise a few in the above. The stories ran for several weeks before they were all pulled.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    My sympathy. Is satire now banned? Keep it up.

  • Rory Carr

    The only serious omission from the nominations list I felt was that of
    Martin McGuinness for the Best Deputy First Minister Award which I strongly suspect he would have been likely to win.

    Such oversight is all the greater pity when we consider that this year is likely to have been the last opportunity to nominate McGuinness in this category.

    Never mind. He’ll just have to be satisfied with what he’s got.

  • Rory Carr



    Any chance of slipping one the address of Burning Passions? (I’m an avid reader).

  • fordprefect

    An inquiry!!!!!!!!?????? Hahaahahhahahahahahahahahaha. (chokes on tea and biscuits) cough, agggg, ah, that’s better, don’t make me laugh, please!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh it wouldnt be an honest Inquiry.
    No Inquiry is honest.
    Thats why Governments have them.
    But if anybody had been pumped full of bullets, there would have been one……which is nice.

  • Rory, I don’t have the address but the Gawn Inn pub is on one side and the Holy Smoke tobacconist is on the other. Big Aggie had a cleaning job in all three. She used to tell her friends that it was great to have a drink beforehand and a smoke afterwards. The tobacconist wasn’t a religious man; Holy Smoke was his expression of disbelief as Big Aggie told him her favourite gossip from next door and the name stuck.

  • pippakin


    I do! just don’t be the poor devil holding the ashtray when some minor royal is chain smoking! I knew someone that happened to many years ago. I was not unfortunately there to witness the scene, and I’m glad I wasn’t: if looks could kill…

    I used to see the VIP protection squad in action from time to time. In all honesty no one would notice the senior royals or senior politicians security teams. The less important royals security however sprang from a very different root: key stone cops comes to mind, unless someone was paying them to block the stares, glare at everyone and generally make sure everyone resented them and by extension the person they were ‘protecting’.