With all that the UoS steering committee has been doing over the past number of years, the committee has endeavoured to share their actions with the broader community; through participation at national and international events, local radio interviews, hosting of public guest speaker events, information sessions, press releases, through various social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter and, internally, through university communications. Below is a summary of our efforts to share our Sanctuary actions and ethos. 

Places of Sanctuary Ireland All-Island Network Conference at TCD 2018

On the 27th of January 2018, a cohort of seven representatives from NUI Galway’s Steering Committee attended the Places of Sanctuary Ireland All-Island Network Conference at TCD the where participants met with several members from other Places of Sanctuary groups. Attendees were able to participate in several workshops, and relay experiences to both the wider group as well as to NUI Galway’s Steering Committee once they returned to the university. This conference encouraged our efforts, and allowed us to learn from others on the path to ‘Sanctuary’. In the University of Sanctuary Stream, in particular, attendees from NUI Galway were able to hear from other Universities about their struggles and issues which have arisen since being designated. 

UN Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2018

In March 2018, The UoS steering committee collaborated with Walk the Talk Galway and residents of the local Direct Provision centres to host a walk within the Connemara National Park to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2018. All proceeds from the walk went towards three local charities who work with the homeless; the Society of St Vincent De Paul, COPE Galway, and The Simon Community. The walk was well attended by over fifty people, and some local political figures joined in the walk. (pics) 

Youth Academy Collaboration 2018

Building on past collaboration between the Youth Academy and the Traveller community, the UoS steering committee collaborated with NUI Galway’s Youth Academy and Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) to provide five free places on the Youth Academy’s courses to Traveller children aged between 8-11 years in September 2018. The Youth Academy at NUI Galway works with high ability 4th, 5th and 6th class primary school children to support their learning and academic development. In 2018, the Youth Academy received a significant donation of €250,000 (over 6 years) from Merit Medical to support DEIS scholarships. 

Outreach Talks 2018

In March & April 2018, NUI Galway’s Access Programmes Office and UoS steering committee representatives held outreach talks in Galway’s local Direct Provision centres, which resulted in many new entrants to NUI Galway for the academic year 2018/2019. The Access team also hosted many open days aimed at Travellers, providing information on the Access Diploma, as well as undergraduate and Postgraduate courses at the university (please see below table for increased participation by both groups as a result of the outreach talks, open days and Youth Academy collaboration). The Access Programmes Office team have repeated the same system of sharing information this year, and these actions will hopefully lead to similar trends in increased participation for the academic year 2019/2020. Both the University and Schools of Sanctuary streams are being promoted at every Access Programmes Office and CKI event.    

Academic Year 

Access Programme 



Youth Academy 











Tutorial Hours 

The UoS steering committee, in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme in the College of Science, funded tutor hours for an International Protection Applicant studying Leaving Cert biology without professional supervision. These tutor hours were funded by EDICC Grant. That same student successfully completed their Leaving Certificate in June 2018, and is currently enrolled in NUI Galway’s Diploma in Foundation Studies, as well as becoming an active and valued member of the Cell EXPLORERS volunteering team, conducting outreach work with, inter alia, migrant communities. 

International University Visits 

The UoS coordinator has given talks about the University/Community/Schools of Sanctuary initiatives to visiting students and academics to NUI Galway over the past year, and visitors expressed huge interest in exporting the ethos and actions of the Sanctuary movement to their respective colleges. A significant element of peer-led movements is the promotion of critical civic engagement amongst the student body, whether through Community-Based Learning projects or action-based research, with the aim of addressing issues of societal inequities and human rights, amongst others.   

Schools of Sanctuary Talks

The Schools of Sanctuary coordinator has hosted talks aimed at post-primary schools in Galway City and County in recent months, with high levels of engagement from DEIS schools in particular. 

Community Group Showcase 2018

In July 2018, two representatives from the Access Programmes Office, the University of Sanctuary, and AMACH! LGBT+ Galway collaborated with Youth Work Ireland, Galway to showcase the work of all community organisations in delivering services to young people in Galway city and county on the Spanish Arch, a local landmark in the heart of the city (we were freezing but much fun was had). (pics)  

NUI Galway Volunteer Fair 2019

In September 2019, the UoS participated in the Alive Volunteer Centre’s Volunteer Fair, which took place in the foyer in the Human Biology building on campus. The event was well attended, and students from a variety of disciplines were in attendance.     

Culture Night 2018 

The Community of Sanctuary steering committee is currently seeking new community organisations, advocacy groups and Governmental membership to join in our committee, and we successfully hosted an information session as part of Galway City Council’s Culture Night celebrations in September at the Harbour Hotel in Galway City. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Bridge Project, the Galway Traveller Movement, and the Galway Anti-Racism Network to showcase our Schools, University, and Community of Sanctuary initiatives. The evening was well attended, with between 40-50 attendees, and our initiatives were supported by representatives from across the political spectrum. We will be making this an annual event, in an effort to maintain community relations, and to ensure that the Community of Sanctuary ethos is known across our Galway community. 

Old School Sports Day 2018 

In October 2018, the Fáilte Refugees Society hosted an Old School Sports Day at the  Kingfisher sports centre on campus as part of Mental Health Week and was well attended, with between 15-20 attendees. It opened the Kingfisher facilities to local residents of the Direct Provision Centres. The University of Sanctuary steering committee is currently developing ways to increase access to these facilities to Irish Travellers, asylum seekers and refugees. 

Regional Conference in Yorkshire & Humberside, UK 2018

In December 2018, two representatives from both the University and Community of Sanctuary committees (one from each) attended a regional conference in Yorkshire & Humberside, UK, to share ideas and information with local groups. Groups represented were Sheffield, York, Wakefield, Harrogate, Bradford, Malhamdale, Doncaster, Ripon, Leeds, Bentham, Barnsley and North Pennines. It was a great opportunity for Galway representatives to learn from groups who have been involved with the Places of Sanctuary movement for a number of years and to promote Galway as a Community of Sanctuary (photos) 

Access to Nursing & Midwifery Workshop 2019

In February 2019, the UoS steering committee facilitated an Access to Nursing & Midwifery Workshop on February 18th 2019 at NUI Galway, which was targeted at members of the Traveller community. This workshop was in celebration of Traveller Ethnicity Day on 1st March, and was well attended. The Access to Nursing & Midwifery workshop was run in partnership with NUI Galway’s Access Programmes Office, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Office of the Vice President for Equality & Diversity, and was funded by the EDICC grant. (Photos) 

Intercultural Family Fun Day 2019

In Feb 2019, the Faílte Refugees Society, in collaboration with the University of Sanctuary steering committee, hosted an Intercultural Family Fun Day for all families of Galway, with a particular emphasis on integration and inclusion. Approximately ffty attendees were provided with an opportunity to meet their community, while enjoying food, juggling and a bouncy castle at the OLBC Hall on Sea Road. The event was filled to capacity, and everyone truly enjoyed sharing stories and food. 

Cork’s City of Sanctuary 2018-2020 Strategic Planning Launch 

In March 2018, two representatives from the Galway University and Community of Sanctuary steering committees attended the launch of Cork’s 2018-2020 Strategic Planning Launch. The event was a great opportunity to network and to share ideas with fellow Sanctuary groups, and was attended by many local and national political figures. 

UK Places of Sanctuary AGM 2019 

In May 2019, two representatives from NUI Galway’s UoS steering committee travelled to the UK Places of Sanctuary AGM and launch of the Places of Sanctuary’s book in Coventry. Upon arrival (the day before the AGM), delegates were treated to a guided tour of Coventry cathedral and the surrounding area. Following the tour, delegates enjoyed an evening of music and icebreakers at a local theatre, before retiring to bed at a respectable 10pm. The AGM was held in the “Welcome Centre”, and proved to be very informative and interactive. Round table discussions followed presentations of national Sanctuary awards, and groups from all over the UK and Ireland had the opportunity to discuss various streams of sanctuary, including Libraries of Sanctuary, Maternity and Sanctuary, Working with Local Councils, and Awards and Sanctuary. The book One Hundred Thousand Welcomes, which is written by Tiffy Allen, brings to life the story of City of Sanctuary through a tapestry of personal stories from all over the network. The stories begin in Sheffield in 2005, and take readers on a journey right up to 2019. As well as spotlighting the ways which many local groups, streams and initiatives have evolved, the book gives readers important insights into the core values of the Places of Sanctuary movement, and offers inspiring examples of keeping “Sanctuary” central amidst the various challenges and changes people meet. Although the Galway group doesn’t feature in this particular installation, there will be plenty of scope to feature in future Sanctuary publications.