A Letterkenny man has made a career out of his passion and is helping others in the process. Mike Toner, who is originally from Ballyraine, has loved dance music since he first discovered it in the 1980’s, when the genre was still in its infancy. Following a move Down Under, Mike founded and runs “Thick as Thieves” a Melbourne based touring and events company that brings the best underground DJs to Australia. The Letterkenny man has also raised over a million dollars to help treat and prevent blindness in Third World countries.

“I went to University in Scotland when I was 18” Mike said “I earned a degree in applied chemistry and a post-graduate in software engineering, but music was always my first-love. While at college, I worked as a DJ part time, and developed a love of electronic music. After college – and a stint in the bank – I made the move to Melbourne, initially on a working holiday visa. I worked in construction and pursued my passion for electronic music by going to clubs and buying records.”

Mike was a resident DJ in Melbourne's Revolver (Revs) Club for over 14 years, arguably one of the most famous nightclubs in Australia. He returned to Ireland for a spell, but eventually went back to Melbourne and set up his business “Thick as Thieves.”

Mike's company is committed to raising the vibration by giving back and raised $48,150 in one night for The Bushfire Disaster Appeal: “All of the artists gave their time for free and 100% of the ticket revenue was donated to the appeal, which allocates funds to firefighters, animal welfare organisations, counseling support and other relevant charities.” he said.

Another of Mike’s passion projects has been to raise money and awareness for the Fred Hollows Foundation which has helped restore eyesight to tens of thousands of people around the world: “Small change in one person’s pocket can mean a big change in another person’s life” Mike said. “So, we put our parties to work raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation, which operates in over 25 countries, and helps to restore sight and improve the future prospects of millions of people living with unnecessary blindness. A donation of $25 is all it takes to provide cataract treatment in developing countries.”

“The total raised now is now $1,022,000 to be exact” Mike said. “On top of the music events, I started getting the electronic music community to do some runs so we could raise money, but also to try and improve both the mental and physical health of the people who participated. In December last year, 140 legends from the Electronic Music industry took part in the inaugural #Quickasthieves2020 running event for the Fred Hollows Foundation. Our only ground rule to be part of the event is that you must commit to raising $1,000 minimum; all-up we raised over $250K.”

Mike is the son of Margaret and the late Michael Toner, and has two brothers Gavin (USA) and Emmet (Belfast) and one sister Louise who lives in Letterkenny.

“We want to raise the vibration not just on the dance floor, but right the way around the world“ Mike added. “The generosity of our amazing artists and the support of our team are what allows us to give back. And then, of course, there’s the music lovers of Melbourne; every time they step through the door, they’re effectively helping to restore the eyesight of a person in need. We’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished, but the journey has just begun; I always say that it’s not a target, it’s a milestone because it is something that I will continue to do until the day I die – I feel so passionate about it.” Mike said.

See www.thickasthieves.com.au