UCD receive HR award from trade magazine who have offered awards in exchange for advertisements

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UCD HR have been awarded the ‘Excellence in HR Management’ award by the Irish Public Sector Magazine in their 2022 Excellence in Business Awards.

In an all-staff email that was sent on February 1, President Deeks congratulated his “fellow UMT member, Tristan Aitken and his team at UCD HR.” The statement went on to introduce the awarding body, calling the magazine the “leading title in the public sector”, which “aims to inform Ireland’s key strategic decision makers.” 

Eir received the Excellence in Customer Services Management Award from the same magazine. A report in the Irish Independent states that the telecommunications company paid €1,750 for an “advertorial” in connection to the award. “The company [Eir] was selected for an award this year alongside a number of other large private and public organisations in Ireland and Eir will place an advertorial in the magazine”, a spokesperson for Eir said.

The Irish Public Sector Magazine was described by President Deeks as recognising “outstanding performance and programmes in public sector bodies, including universities, which demonstrate outstanding service, continuity, track record and general excellence to business and to the people of Ireland.” Speaking on Liveline on RTÉ 1, Alice Leahy of the Alice Leahy Trust, a homelessness charity, said she was offered an award by the same organisation, but would have to take out an ad to cover the cost.

Several companies along with Eir did win awards. IBEC won Ireland’s largest Business Membership Award, and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council won County Council of the Year award. Both organisations took out a full page advertisement in the publication. While it was confirmed that, despite the name, the Irish Public Sector Magazine is not affiliated with government departments. The Press Office of Public Expenditure and Reform Department said in a statement “Public Sector Magazine is not a government publication. This department does not have a subscription to Public Sector Magazine and we do not distribute it to staff.” The Department of Justice also received an award and were photographed with the award in the department office.

JP Devlin Media, who owns the Irish Public Sector Magazine, also owns The North American Celtic Trade Association (NACTA), a “trade association for those involved in the sale and promotion of Irish and Celtic products in North America” and The Spirit of Ireland Magazine, a “publication celebrating all things Irish.” The company’s registered Dublin address (as pictured) is a derelict building located in Clontarf. The Irish Public Sector Magazine website is currently down, and the two directors of the company, John Hogan and Tommy Quinn, have not responded to any calls or emails from the University Observer. Extra.ie, and Liveline on RTÉ 1 also proved unsuccessful in their attempts to speak to the directors. Similarly, many have been unable to obtain a physical or digital copy of the magazine, despite claims made in a letter from the organisation to Alice Leahy, that they supposedly print 175,000 physical copies and distribute over 300,000 digital copies. 

The University of Limerick received an award from the publication in 2021 for the second year in a row. The university’s Management Development Unit in the Kemmy Business School won the Excellence in Promoting Education Studies within Mid-West Region.” Yvonne Delaney, Director of the MDU, congratulated the “hard working team of professionals and academics'' in a statement on the university’s website. 

Several attempts by the media to find out more information about the judging panel have proved unsuccessful. In the final remarks of his statement, Deeks assured staff that the “awards are chosen by an independent committee, made up of people from the public sector and private partnerships.” 

UCD Communications did not respond to a request for an interview or to answer questions at the time of publication, and did not comment on if UCD had taken an advertisement or advertorial in the magazine.