There were jubilant scenes in Athlone recently when a production company run by Martin Devaney and his wife Claire won a National Television Award for a special documentary they filmed at the National Community Games finals for Irish TV.
“We are just thrilled to have received this National Television Award for our production team here in Westmeath but also for the fledging new TV channel Irish TV on Sky 191. It means everything to us as a small production company to have our work acknowledged and endorsed like this on a national stage. This award is also a huge boost to Irish TV as a new TV channel and broadcaster in Ireland and we are just delighted to be part of that success story,” commented Martin Devaney this week. The National Television Award for ‘outstanding TV coverage’ was presented to Martin Devaney and Irish TV CEO Pierce O’Reilly at a gala function in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
Mr O’Reilly said the award would take pride of place in the offices of the Westmeath County Matters production team in Athlone over the coming weeks. “Martin and his production team in Westmeath deserve great credit for delivering this award-winning production to Irish TV. They are out and about filming every week of the year for us and this accolade is in recognition of that dedication to their county and to Irish TV,” he commented.
The winning documentary that was filmed by Martin Devaney was part of his weekly Westmeath County Matters half hour TV show every Tuesday evening at 8pm on Irish TV on Sky TV channel 191. “When we started filming at the National Community Games we realised that instead of a five minute feature the event deserved a full half hour standalone show and that is what we did,” commented Martin.
Martin Devaney is a native of County Mayo who moved to Westmeath a few years ago to be closer to his family after working in Dublin for several years. He is the author of the RTÉ Writer’s Guide published by Blackwater Press and he has written extensively for The Abbey Theatre, RTÉ, and the BBC.
He recalls being in Portugal last year in a small village and by coincidence seeing Westmeath County Matters playing on a television screen in the corner. “It seems there is a truly global interest in local stories,” he said.
Martin says that while he has worked in broadcasting and the creative arts for over 20 years, he has never experienced the feedback he is getting on the ground while recording his own weekly show in Westmeath for Irish TV.
“I am constantly finding that members of the public are coming up to us on the streets while recording to make comments about the show. There is a real sense of community ownership with Irish TV and I think that has been the key to the success of the channel,” he said.