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No Limbs No Limits

Off to college: Joanne O'Riordan gets the course she wanted at UCC

“When Joanne sets her mind to doing something she does it,” said her dad Joe.

CORK TEENAGER JOANNE O’Riordan has described it as “a fantastic day” after she secured a scholarship to do the course she wants at University College Cork.

Joanne, who was born without arms and legs, will begin a degree in criminology at UCC in the autumn after she received her Leaving Cert results today.

“I’ve always been interested in crime and how a criminal behaves,” she said. “I like the idea of trying to get into a criminal’s mind and hopefully try to understand them and why they commit the crimes they commit”.

She will live on campus at UCC as part of the Quercus scholarship, which acknowledges the work by students within the community. The university has transformed the apartment where Joanne will live throughout the three years that she is there.

“They [UCC] have gone the extra mile in adapting the house I will live in,” said Joanne. “They are making the environment in which I will study more accessible”.

The 18-year-old from Millstreet in Cork is one of just seven in the world who have Total Amelia, the rare condition which left her without limbs. She came to prominence after she delivered a keynote speech at a United Nations conference in New York in which she spoke of the difference technology had made in her life.

Joanne’s parents said they were incredibly proud of their daughter and everything she had achieved.

“When Joanne sets her mind to doing something she does it,” said her father, Joe O’Riordan. “As a father I’m so proud of her simply because the start she had in life was difficult but we have jumped those hurdles and this is what has happened”.

Her mother Ann said that “while over the years we’ve had to fight to get her certain things to help her, the fight has been worth it”.

“What UCC have offered me is simply unbelievable,” said Joanne. “I have always wanted to show people that irrespective of your disability or background, you can achieve the best in life if you set your mind to it”.

Photos: Leaving Cert students collect their results and warm the cockles of our heart >

Read: The results are out: how students got on with the Leaving Certificate >  

In numbers: The Leaving Certificate results > 

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