Innovation and resilience the hallmark of print sector

The 45th annual awards ceremony involving 30 categories showcases the creativity and quality of the industry in Ireland

Sales and sponsorship director, Trish Murphy of Ashville Media, organisers of the event, presented the print of the year award, the overall winner on the night, to Anglo Printers

The dynamism evident throughout the Irish print industry was celebrated at the 45th Irish Print Awards which took place on April 26 in Clontarf Castle, Dublin.

A total of 320 of the sector’s finest talents turned out for the gala ceremony with Alan Shortt as MC. With 30 categories assessed by an independent panel of judges, the awards shone the spotlight on the creativity and resilience that define the Irish print sector.

Joe O’Callaghan, network manager of design, print and packaging Skillnet, and a member of the Irish Print Federation, a sponsor of the awards, said that with the print apprenticeship no longer there for trainees in the print sector, the print and media technician programme is available to all printing and related industry.

The programme is intended to provide the foundational knowledge required for a print media technician, he said. Heavily subsidised by the design, print and packaging Skillnet, the course is run over two years. It is delivered through online tutor-led classes, working with the trainees and their companies.

Suitable for participants from throughout the industry including litho, digital, finishing, large format, packaging, labels and services, accreditation is provided on completion of the course.

Over 40 years in the printing industry, I have seen so many changes and advances in technology

Michael Grimes, business development manager, Canon Ireland, another awards sponsor, said that for Canon as a supplier of professional printing equipment, software and imaging supplies to the Irish print industry, it is vital to encourage talent, not only to attract more into the industry but also to retain staff and support the history and future of this ever-evolving industry.

“In addition to our usual sponsorships of the graphic design and print collaboration award, we are also contributing a bursary for one deserving candidate’s enrolment fee for the master’s of professional practice in partnership with design, print and packaging Skillnet and TU Dublin,” he said.

Canon will also be providing a bursary for next year’s enrolment to one candidate in the print media technician programme, again supported by DPP Skillnet. Other sponsors were: EBB, FujiFilm, GPMI, Heidelberg, HP, Irish Print Federation, Select hotels of Ireland and Trimwel/3M.

Sales and sponsorship director, Trish Murphy of Ashville Media, organisers of the event, presented the print of the year award, the overall winner on the night, to Anglo Printers.

“The coveted print of the year is the Irish Print Awards’ highest accolade and was chosen by the Irish Print Awards 2023 judging panel following a review of all finalists across this year’s categories. The winner of this category has shown not just superior craftsmanship but also the ability to push the boundaries of creativity and technology,” said the Irish Print Awards commercial director.

“This award is testament to the company’s commitment to delivering outstanding printed materials that captivate audiences and exceed expectations. It serves as a symbol of achievement, distinguishing the winner as a leader in the field and a benchmark for quality and innovation within the Irish print community.”

Congratulating the winners and all participants, Murphy said that the Irish Print Awards continue to be a beacon for excellence, encouraging creative professionals to strive for recognition in the marketplace. “Every entry narrates a story of innovation and resilience, reflecting the opportunity-rich state of our industry.”

A special highlight of the evening was the presentation of the lifetime achievement award to Dave Heary, a revered figure in the printing community. His lifelong dedication and contribution to the industry was warmly congratulated. Having started out as an apprentice printer with JJ Lalor Ltd in 1979, he worked in a range of roles in the Irish print industry, finishing up as company director with Graphocolor Ltd (Huber Group) in 2022.

His late father, Noel, was a printer and it became a family tradition to work in the industry. His two mottos in sales were: ’The customer is king’ and ‘You are only as good as your last delivery.’

“Over 40 years in the printing industry, I have seen so many changes in the trade and advances in technology. Every day was a school day, as you learned something new or experienced something new, most days,” Heary said. “It is sad to think of the people, companies, and supplier names that no longer exist in the trade. However, the trade is full of highly motivated and passionate people who embrace change, move forward, and keep printing alive.”