Journalist Ursula Halligan awarded French honour

Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault praised her strong voice

Journalist Ursula Halligan awarded French honour

Image via @FranceinIreland on Twitter

Journalist Ursula Halligan has been awarded a National Order of Merit by France.

The TV3 political editor was named Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by French ambassador to Ireland, Jean-Pierre Thébault.

The prize is to reward "distinguished merit" and encourage the lifeblood of France.

A native of Templeogue in Dublin, Halligan entered journalism in the 1990s - first at the Sunday Tribune and then Magill’s Magazine.

She then moved to RTÉ and TV3, where she now holds the position of political editor.

In a statement, the French embassy say: "Ursula Halligan has been a strong voice whose work ethics and media analysis marked generations of Irishmen and women all over Ireland."

Speaking ahead of the event, Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault said: "By bestowing this honour, we will recognise a woman of convictions and an exemplary personality always tuned in to the aspirations and challenges of today's society.

"Through this recognition, not only will we shed light on an outstanding professional and a close friend of France but also on the essential role and contribution of women for the betterment of today's society and democratic life."

In 2015, Halligan stepped aside from TV3's coverage of the marriage equality referendum so she could publicly endorse a Yes vote.

She subsequently came out as gay, declaring: "Before this referendum came along...I suppose I was resigned to going to my grave with that secret, and I shiver to think (that) there must have been so many people who've done that".

"Who have lived incomplete lives and gone to their graves quietly because they were too embarrassed or too ashamed to talk about it".

"This referendum has changed things," she said.