Ruairí McKiernan

ruairi bio pic 333Ruairí McKiernan is an award winning social innovator, activist, consultant and Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State. His work focuses on social justice, youth, health and community empowerment campaigns, projects and publishing. This includes contributions to media outlets such as the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the Irish Examiner, the Sunday Times, the Huffington Post, RTE TV and radio, TV3, the BBC, Today FM and Newstalk.

In 2004, he founded the pioneering youth organisation and was CEO until 2011. Ruairí is a regular public speaker at events and conferences in Ireland and internationally, and was one of the organisers of the Dalai Lama’s 2011 visit to Ireland. He is on the boards of Gaisce – the President’s Award, the Soar Foundation and Uplift. Ruairí is a recipient of numerous awards including a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award and a Net Visionary Award. In 2013, he completed a ‘hitching for hope’ listening tour of Ireland.

‘Ruairí is one of the most impressive innovators I have worked with’.
Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

‘Ruairí is a visionary leader.’
Sinéad Gibney, Social Action Manager, Google

‘..passionate at all times and a consummate professional. Smart, energetic
& overall a great guy.’
David Hughes, The Vodafone Foundation

Consultancy and support for individuals, non-profits and companies

This year, as well as ongoing activism, writing and media projects, Ruairí will be advising a limited number of individuals, non-profits, campaign groups and companies in Ireland and internationally.

This includes offering affordable advice and support in areas like fundraising, PR, social media, campaigning, strategy, and leadership development. Ruairí has also decided to offer free mentoring and support to 2 young change-makers who want to make a difference in the world. See below for more info.

Part of this advice and support work involves helping eligible non-profit groups and organisations benefit from the Google Ad Grant programme, which provides over €7000 ($10,000) per month in FREE online advertising. That’s over €84,000 worth of free online advertising annually, something that can lead to a massive increase in profile, funding, support, and social impact. If you know an organisation that might qualify, please let them know about this scheme. Find info online or get in touch:

As well the Google scheme, Ruairí is also providing consultancy support on other areas of communications, fundraising, web strategy, civic engagement and social change.

Things Ruairí can help with;

  • Communications; social media, campaigns, media, web development strategy
  • Fundraising; online, crowd-funding, philanthropy, lottery, SMS/text messaging donations, sponsorship
  • Youth, activism, community engagement and health promotion projects
  • Help with new visions, inspirations, ideas and innovations 
  • Organisational strategy, HR, and board development
  • Leadership development, coaching and mentoring
  • Events, training, facilitation, research and networking 

If you or someone you know might benefit from consultancy support, please get in touch or forward on this information. Ruairí is based in Dublin, in Galway regularly, and often travelling throughout Ireland and overseas. He also works with people using Skype and email.


Some of the organisations Ruairí has worked with include the Vodafone Foundation, Philanthropy Ireland, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Irish League of Credit Unions, Young Social Innovators, Afri, Fighting Blindness and Cavan County Council.

Youth mentoring opportunity

“Making a difference in the world isn’t always easy. I encountered a lot of barriers in my teens and twenties but survived and hopefully learnt a few lessons along the way. I want to make sure this journey is easier for others and to offer support, guidance, a listening ear, and advice and connections wherever I can.

That’s what motivated me to offer a free mentoring opportunity to two young change-makers in 2014. This includes several face to face meetings, and regular phone check-ins and updates. The support programme will also cover areas such as personal and leadership development, communications, campaigning, fundraising, and team building. Candidates must be aged 18-30 and focused on creating positive social change in Ireland or abroad.”

For consideration please send an email to detailing (1) name (2) number (3) who you are (4) what you’re doing (5) why you’re doing it, and (6) what things you think you need help with. Deadline January 31st

More info

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“I worked with Ruairí when Google Ireland was first getting involved in the Social Action area. Ruairí is a natural leader and not only partnered with Google on many initiatives but also helped provide us with vision in how we should get involved in volunteering in this space. Ruairí has excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills. I believe Ruairí could take on any challenge and succeed!”

Susan Higgins, Policy Manager, Google

“Ruairí is a visionary leader. As Social Action Manager for Google, I meet and work with many representatives of the NGO sector and few have understood Google and what we have to offer as well as Ruairí does. I’m delighted to endorse Ruairí and I believe we’ve only yet seen a glimpse of what he can achieve. He has inspired me and I believe he has a long and successful career ahead of him making a difference to the lives of many people. I look forward to our paths crossing again in the future.”

Sinéad Gibney, Social Action Manager, Google

“Ruairí brings vision, creativity and passion to organizational challenges and opportunities. He is an excellent networker and has a very inclusive way of working.”

Jane Forman, Programme Executive, The Atlantic Philanthropies

“Ruairí is one of the most impressive innovators I have worked with. He combines a strong and compelling vision with excellent leadership skills as can be seen in the growth, under Ruairí’s leadership, into one of Ireland’s premier youth organizations. Ruairí had the ability to keep his finger on the pulse of both the organization and the market it served and was able to develop innovative new services that drove growth and generated significant positive impact in Ireland. He would make a powerful contribution to any organization looking to increase civic engagement or develop a more effective communications platform.” 

Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

“Ruairi is driven with a passion to make real difference in the world. All his energy, thinking and doing is focussed on how he can do this and do it better. If your lucky to work with him, then you benefit from his insight, his questioning, his commitment to empowering others and his ability to always bring fresh thinking. I have been so lucky in Young Social Innovators! Ruairi, if he feels he can add value to your work and believes in it, will keep you in the loop of his thinking and knowledge – that is quite amazing!”

 Rachel Collier, CEO of Young Social Innovators

“Ruairí is a creative problem solver with a passion for empowerment and social change and a talent for taking it all online.” 

Deirdre Mortell, Co-Founder and CEO, The One Foundation

“Ruairí is a wonderful people motivator, even in challenging operating environment. Ruairí always inspired the best from his team. I have always found him to be fully energised and involved in tasks that he undertakes. Most importantly he is passionate about all his undertakings, looking to clearly understand communicate the high level concepts and devils in the detail.”

Sean Bryceland, Accenture

“Ruairí Mc Kiernan is a rare jewel in the midst of a very turbulent chapter in Irish and Global development. His insight and passion for social justice stems from a wonderfully refreshing ability to actively listen to all sides, adopt a measured response and therefore act with humility whilst representing those people who do not have a voice. Ruairí is a ‘do-er’ with a proven track record as a driver of positive change through innovation and creativity. His energy and potential knows no bounds, and Ruairí certainly will never allow limitations to become barriers in any project he undertakes. I commend and wish him all the best in all future endeavours!” 

Deb McMullin, Project Worker, Foróige

“At all times I found Ruairí to be dependable, hardworking, diligent, and peace loving young man. He had consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and a dedication to success. His efforts had produced high quality results time and time again. As a tireless networker with local communities and especially with young people, he thrived and accomplished to get the greatest possible outcomes for young people. Ruairí was then and still to this day passionate about issues around youth participation and promoting young people’s involvement in the policy decisions that affect them.” 

Larry Masterson, Senior Executive Officer, Health Service Executive

“Being on the Board of the Vodafone Ireland Foundation I had the pleasure of meeting & working with Ruairí during 2010 & 2011. Ruairí was absolutely committed to the ambitions of empowering & supporting the youth of Ireland, was passionate at all times and a consummate professional. Smart, energetic & overall a great guy to deal with.” 

David Hughes, Head of Enterprise Solutions, Vodafone Ireland

“Ruairí is fantastic at ignoring the status quo and proving that in fact you can disrupt and make changes for the betterment of people when you believe you can. Ruairí’s main skills are his abilities to motivate and energise others in a very positive way, teaching old dogs new tricks by making the establishment take notice of the views of others they may have forgotten and bringing all stakeholders together and molding them to create positive events/projects/outcomes.” 

Damien Mulley, Gaffer, Mulley Communications

“Ruairí is smart, creative, pragmatic and motivational. He has brought these qualities and his vast experience in active citizenship to the Board of We the Citizens. His advice has been invaluable.”

Caroline Erskine, Executive Director, We the Citizens

“Ruairí has always brought energy, creativity and commitment to all that he does in life. He is a driven person who encourages others to shine. I have always found it a pleasure to work with Ruairí.” 

Senator Jillian van Turnhout, Former Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance

“I am delighted to recommend Ruairí. He is an energetic, passionate and innovative entrepreneur. He not only has a vision for change and social empowerment but has demonstrated an ability to commit to that vision and to actualize real and ethical outcomes. His ongoing business practice in setting high standards and seeing them take on concrete form is consistent with his vision of empowerment, participation and equality. He has also demonstrated strategic and critical capacity and has a depth of understanding of the community and voluntary, activist and funding landscape.” 

Cliona Saidlear,  Communications Director, Rape Crisis Network

“I have known Ruairí in his work in developing the SpunOut organization. I have found him dynamic, courteous and crucial to the development of SpunOut as a youth organization. In this context Ruairi was central to promoting the area of mental health and youth in Ireland today.” 

Brian Howard, CEO, Mental Health Ireland