Limerick Voice honours “exceptionally talented” former editor at SPA Regional Awards

Former Limerick Voice Editor Joe Drennan, who died in a hit-and-run last October, was remembered as an “exceptionally talented and stylish” person at the Student Publication Association (SPA) Regional Awards for Ireland by current staff members.

Managing Editor Molly Cantwell and Investigative Journalist Síofra Grant paid tribute to Drennan in the Graduate Memorial Building (GMB) ahead of the awards ceremony.

Cantwell described her co-editor as a “pioneer for student media” and said that she could not attend the SPAs “without sharing anything about him”, saying: “There are no words to describe the incredible sense of loss that Joe leaves behind”.

“As a group of young journalists, you never expect to become the story, to read an article that’s about the loss of your dear friend, or to be lost for words when it’s words that brought us all together.”

“Joe was a force to be reckoned with, his passion, talent, charisma and absolute grá for his work was so evident in absolutely everything he did.

“He was passionate about his work with Gay Community News (GCN), and so determined to build a powerful future for himself.”

“We knew there was no doubt coming out of our degree that he would’ve been the one that got the job straight away. He would walk into anything with a strut and a hairflip and he was ready to go.”

Cantwell finished with a promise to “stay fighting the good fight for every under-represented voice as Joe would’ve wanted”.

Grant said that Drennan was the “brightest person” she had ever “had the honour of knowing” and “the greatest friend anyone could ask for”.

“He tackled everything he put his mind to with pure determination and unflinching confidence, whether this be his writing or his relationships with others. Anyone who knew or even met our Joe came away with something to remember, something impactful.

“He had this same attitude when it came to his journalism: no story was too small and no story was too big, and most importantly, no story was too challenging.

“Joey had a knack for finding the most interesting things to write about, whether it be the furry community or BDSM, an LGBTQ priest at the height of the AIDS crisis in New York, and same-sex couples in Ireland fighting for parental rights.

“I had the honour of calling him my best friend, and losing him can only be described as losing a part of myself,” she concluded.

A man in his 20s was charged with dangerous driving leading to the death of Drennan.

Drennan was appointed editor-in-chief of Limerick Voice just weeks before his tragic death, and just two weeks after his 21st birthday.

Limerick Voice won Best Digital and Best Article at the SPA Regional Awards, while Cantwell was Highly Commended for Outstanding Commitment.