mayo interculrual action.jpg

Name / Title

Mayo Intercultural Action

Case Study Region

West of Ireland

Geographical coverage

County Mayo


Voluntary group; advice service; project


Main activity / focus


Mayo Intercultural Action provides support and advocacy for migrants living and working in County Mayo, its gives a voice to asylum seekers who are in hostel accommodation in Mayo under Direct Provision, it helps people who have been granted residency in the County to find opportunities for training, education and employment and it offers a safe and welcoming space where people seeking a new life in Ireland can take part in social activities, meet people in a similar situation and be informed about their rights and entitlements

Target beneficiaries / market

All migrants living in County Mayo

Year established

Established in 2004


Current Funding source(s)

MIA is a voluntary organisation, initially funded and supported by the Mayo County Development Board and the County Community Forum.  The organisation was developed with the support of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Integration (NCCRI) – (This organisation has recently being disbanded as a result of Government cut backs).  In 2006, MIA operated through a Naisc Nua grant, with the help of two FÁS workers and a group of exceptional volunteers.  However, they do not have core funding.  In 2007, MIA was largely depended on a grant of €115,000, awarded by Pobal (at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs) and run in association with Meitheal Mhaigheo.  In 2010, Mayo Intercultural Action’s has seen its funding entirely cut and is surviving on volunteer effort, fundraising and contributions.


Two Community Employment (CE) workers are involved in the work of both MIA and a sub-project of MIA, Naisc Nua.  There is one full-time volunteer worker with MIA and she is currently working on a Primary Health Care Project for the organisation.  MIA also hosts a number of third-level student placements and depends on the dedication of a large number of volunteers for the successful running of its many activities. 





Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA) was set up in 2004 and is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), managed by a voluntary management committee.  Mia aims to promote the positive effects of interculturalism in Irish society.  The organisation would like to see an open, just and equal Ireland where human rights and cultural differences are respected and where new Irish communities are afforded equal rights and opportunities.  It is an organisation that exists to make newcomers to County Mayo in the West of Ireland feel welcome and to help them resolve any difficulties they may have. 

MIA was established as a response to a rapid increase in the number of immigrants arriving in County Mayo.  MIA’s   work to date included interculturalism, combating racism and raising awareness of the issues affecting ethnic minorities in Ireland.  Since starting MIA have participated in the Castlebar St. Patrick’s Day Parade where more than 140 people from diverse countries such as Burma, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Congo, France, Germany, Venezuela, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary etc took part.  Hand painted national flags were made at a number of flag making workshops organisedby MIA in addition to drummers, maracas, chanting and singing along the way.  MIA in conjunction with Mayo Rape Crisis Centre held a ‘Speak Out’ event to celebrate International Women’s Day. This was a moving tribute to the courage, patience and goodhumourof women around the globe.  

A group of Irish women, along with women from a variety of different countries and cultural backgrounds, all living in Mayo, spoke about their lives as women today.  In a powerful and emotional sequence, the women took turns in front of the microphone and had just one minute each to express what was most important to them.  The ‘speak out’ was followed by a ‘sing out’ when members of the MIA Intercultural Singing Group, led by Brid Kivneen, gave a fitting finale to what is a worldwide celebration of women.  There was a great turnout for this celebratory event, after which refreshments were served. MIA would like to thank the staff of the Linenhall Arts Centre for their support.  More recently, MIA have organiseda social activities club (Fáilte Club) where immigrants do not have to be members to attend the organisedevents. 

Through the Fáilte Club such events as group participation in the mini marathon were organised, a craft circle and conversational English classes.  MIA has enormous benefits for both migrants and locals in that it assists the integration of immigrants into local communities in County Mayo.  Furthermore, it allows locals to interact with immigrants and witness first hand the valuable asset they can be for the local community.  In 2008, MIA was nominated for an award a Media and Multicultural Awards (MAMAs).  Its founder, Ms Thérèse Ruane received a World Refugee Day Award in June 2007 for creating the group and for her commitment to youth and education.  The organisation also won a Vodafone Foundation World of a Difference Award.  



Contact details



Ms Michelle Rooney,