Mr Clifford won the honours for his outstanding coverage of the garda whistleblowers’ scandal and its epic fallout, including the resignation of garda commissioner Martin Callinan and justice minister Alan Shatter, as well as thought-provoking articles on the Cooke report examining alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman’s Office.
Irish Examiner editor Tim Vaughan described Mr Clifford as a “tenacious journalist” a “singular talent” and a “more than worthy winner” of the awards.
“There is no one as talented as Mick for getting to the heart of the matter,” said Mr Vaughan. “His capacity for analysis and for setting out his stall in simple and eloquent terms is quite unique. He writes with clarity and is utterly accessible. That is why our readers love him, and equally, why many in positions of power fear him.”
The awards were presented last night on Tonight with Vincent Browne. The winners were picked by a panel comprising MEP Luke ’Ming’ Flanagan, broadcaster Marie Louise O’Donnell and UCD lecturer Marie Moran.