Metro Éireann is Ireland's only multicultural newspaper and was established in April 2000 by reigning editor Chinedu Onyejelem and his colleague Abel Ugba, now an academic at the University of East London. Both men were journalists in their native Nigeria and they spotted a lack of credible information for and about immigrants in the Irish media upon emigrating to Ireland.
Their creation, Metro Éireann, quickly established itself as a generator of exclusive news on diversity-related issues, and for over a decade it has provided a forum through which diverse communities in Ireland communicate with one another on cultural, religious, national and international issues.
With a strong background in generating hard news, Metro Éireann has frequently broken news stories of national significance. A notable example was an article published in 2007 which revealed An Garda Síochána's decision to disallow its officers from wearing religious headwear. This particular story led to a national debate in the mainstream media on issues pertaining to cultural integration, religious rights, assimilation, and Irishness. This type of domino effect has been replicated in the context of numerous other stories generated by Metro Éireann through the years.
The newspaper currently publishes fortnightly and features columns from Ireland-based contributors from around the world, including Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and Poland. It carries a dedicated Irish language section and has strongly promoted minority sports such as women's rugby and martial arts. The Booker prize winning author Roddy Doyle is a regular contributor.
Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (MAMA)
Metro Éireann's development as a cross-cultural forum has been significantly furthered through the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (MAMA), first staged in 2002. The awards were established by Metro Éireann to recognise initiatives promoting and celebrating cultural diversity on the island of Ireland. The awards, which have been staged in Dublin and Cork (when the city was European Capital of Culture in 2005), are about the people, groups, events, companies and institutions which have embraced diversity and celebrated its place within our evolving Irish society. The MAMA Awards showcase the potential of interculturalism to generate positive initiatives and they recognise the contribution of groups and individuals who are driving a broad range of programmes in the area of diversity.
The MAMA Awards are presented in two categories: Multicultural and Media. The former recognises initiatives and individuals demonstrating qualities and outcomes such as innovation, empowerment of minorities, understanding of issues of racism and diversity, challenging of mindsets reflecting negative stereotypes or narrow understandings of Irishness, and enhancement of service provision within black and ethnic minority communities.
The latter category, Media, focuses on rewarding journalism that promotes and informs cross-cultural understanding and co-operation. It places emphasis on creativity, a quality of analysis and understanding of racism and cultural diversity, and an ability to communicate with a multi-ethnic audience.
Comedian Des Bishop, a 2008 MAMA winner, perhaps best encapsulated the spirit of the MAMA Awards by describing the event as "a celebration of culture, multiculturalism, identity".
Conor Lenihan, when Minister for Integration, said the MAMA Awards is an initiative of "real value" and provides "an occasion and opportunity to showcase the talent and the achievement of the very diverse communities in Ireland".
Metro Éireann has also devised complementing events which involve various sections of Irish society, namely the business community through the Ethnic Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, launched by President Mary McAleese in 2007; the creative arts through the Metro Éireann Writing Awards (judged by Booker Prize winner and Metro Éireann contributor Roddy Doyle); the musical community through the Dublin International Gospel Music Festival; and the Nigerian Diaspora via the Global Achievers Awards for Nigeria, which also honour Irish people who made positive contributions to Nigeria or the Nigerian communities (e.g. missionaries).
What are the MAMA Awards?
The Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (MAMA) recognise the contributions of individuals and organisations in promoting cross-cultural understanding and co-operation in Ireland.
The awards also recognise initiatives that promote and celebrate cultural diversity on the island of Ireland. Awards are presented in two categories: Multicultural and Media.
Who are the awards organised by?
First staged in 2002, the MAMA Awards were established by Ireland's first and only multicultural newspaper, Metro Éireann. The 2012 Awards are proudly sponsored by Dublin City Council, An Post and MK Design Studio.
Why should people enter?
The MAMA Awards are an important way to promote and celebrate cultural diversity in an Ireland that has changed significantly over the past decade.
The awards are about the people, groups, events, companies and institutions that have embraced diversity and celebrated its place within our new and evolving Irish society, especially in these tough times.
The MAMA Awards showcase the positive effects that multiculturalism has on Irish society and recognise the contribution of groups and individuals who are driving a broad range of initiatives in the area of diversity.
Who can enter?
The awards are open to individuals, public and private sector organisations and not-for-profit organisations on the island of Ireland. Entries can be self-nominated or made by members of the public/organisations/ companies/Metro Éireann. Entries from Irish and non-Irish nationals from the island of Ireland are welcome.
The Multicultural awards focus on initiatives that promote cultural diversity and develop cross-cultural understanding and co-operation. In considering entries, the judges will look for evidence of
The Media awards focus on media initiatives and journalistic reporting that promotes and informs cross-cultural understanding and co-operation.
In making the media awards the judges will look for evidence of
What are the rules of entry?
All entries must be submitted by post or through the online entry form with two copies each of original works that must have been published, transmitted, launched, instituted or carried out on the island of Ireland between 1 January 2012 and 31 October 2012.
The closing date for receipt of entries is Tuesday 20 November. Shortlisted entries in each category will be announced before a ceremony later in Dublin in November 2012.
How do I enter?
To enter, simply fill out the attached entry form, include any supporting material and send it to:
MAMA Awards Co-ordinator 2012
46 Upper Dorset Street
T: 01 8783441
F: 01 8783917
When is the closing date?
Tuesday, 20 November November 2012.
Note to all entrants:
Any views expressed in giving the awards do not necessarily represent the opinion of organisers, judges, sponsors or supporters.