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. Onyejelem had previously worked on The Irish Times and The Irish Catholic before co-founding the paper.
Current editor Chinedu Onyejelem is one of Ireland's most visible immigrants (now an Irish citizen) and was a recipient of a People of the Year Award in 2006 in recognition for his work on multiculturalism. Onyejelem is a member of Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade /NGO Standing Committee on Human Rights and is a fellow of the Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration which is run by the German Marshall Funds of the United States and the Bosch Foundation.
Their creation, Metro Éireann, quickly established itself as a generator of exclusive news on diversity-related 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 (http://metroeireann.com/article/no-turban-gardai-tell-sikh,370). 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 runs the annual MAMA (Media and Multicultural Awards) and 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 have made positive contributions to Nigeria or the Nigerian communities (e.g. missionaries).