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Ocean FM, the local station serving Sligo, South Donegal and North Leitrim, won the Prix Europa in the Radio Drama category for it’s three part play, “Francisco”. The Awards are the most prestigious in Europe and the announcement in Berlin marked a major breakthrough for small  independent broadcasters.

The entry fought off competition from Europe’s largest state owned broadcasters, including the BBC, to take first in the drama category. Francisco was written and Directed by Donal O’Kelly and was recorded at The Glens Centre in Co.Leitrim.

Francisco is based on the extraordinary writings of Captain Don Francisco De Cuellar, shipwrecked here from the ‘Invincible Armada’ of ships sent by Phillip II of Spain to invade Queen Elizabeth’s England in 1588. Undertaking an incredible journey across the North West of Ireland in an effort to return to Spain, De Ceullar gave a unique insight into Irish society at this time.

“Telling this story on radio has been an obsession of our team here at Ocean for a number of years and was a logical next step on from a series of documentaries we produced on the Armada”, said Tim Collins, CEO of Ocean FM. “This success reflects the wealth of artistic talent based in the North West and the value of the creative partnerships developed by Ocean”, he said. “Donal O’Kelly brought his unique genius and energy to the project along with talented actors Jaime Carswell, Darina Gallagher and Sorcha Fox”, he said. “The musical score by Kila performed by Dee Armstrong, Colm and Rossa O’Snodaigh and Seanan Brennan was exquisite and the sound production by Ray Duffy another vital ingredient”.

“I would like to thank Producer Aisling Heraughty and Assistant Producer, Peter Collins who worked tirelessly on the project. It is also important to acknowledge the support of Ciaran Kissane and his team at The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision Fund for having the foresight to support this unusual project”, he said.

This is the second major drama award won by Ocean FM in the past month having taken the Gold Award for Drama at the PPI Radio Awards in Kilkenny. We have had an extraordinary run of success in the past 18 months having won the IMRO Award for Commitment to Irish music two years in a row, seven PPI Awards including five Golds and now another first for  “Francisco” in Europe’s most sought after radio and television awards, The Prix Europa”, said Tim Collins.