No Limbs No Limits

Joanne O’Riordan will be the youngest ever Grand Marshal of the St Patrick’s Day Parade

The Cork student and campaigner will lead the main event on 17 March.

Updated at 2.50pm

CORK’S JOANNE O’RIORDAN will become the youngest ever Grand Marshal of the national St Patrick’s Day Parade.

It will be the first ever visit to the Dublin event for the student and disability campaigner.

And speaking to reporters this afternoon at the launch at Grand Canal Dock, the 19-year-old observed, tongue-in-cheek:

I don’t set standards at all do I?

Nicky Byrne, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Brendan O’Carroll all led the parade in recent years – and the press bumf announcing O’Riordan in the role stressed that she was the youngest person ever to do so.

Chatting to the media however, Joanne said she hadn’t actually considered that she was something of a pioneer for the under-20s.

“19 years old to be leading a parade… I think it’s class. Jesus, I never actually thought of being the youngest person at all.

I’m the youngest at everything, I’m always paddy last! In my family, in my group of friends, on my course – no matter what I do I’m always the youngest.

StPatricksDayGrandMarshal-8 Robbie Reynolds Photography Robbie Reynolds Photography

Well known across the country as a result of the No Limbs No Limits documentary, O’Riordan is one of seven people in the world living with Total Amelia – a syndrome which results in people being born without limbs.

The UCC student received international acclaim after speaking to the United Nations in New York in 2012. She was named Young Person of the Year the same year.

Speaking today, she said she was happy to have a platform, as Grand Marshall, to talk about disability, mental health and other issues.

It definitely gives me a bigger platform now. It’s opened massive doors of opportunity now for me. I mean, I don’t even know what’s going to come from it – and that’s kind-of my motto on everything: just take every opportunity that comes your way.

The only downside to the gig, Joanne observed, was the fact that it might be hard to get hold of a bottle of Cork’s favourite soft drink in the capital…

Ye lack, like, Tanora… That’s only a Cork thing and that’s, like, massive.

A helpful reporter pointed out that you could now get it in certain Dublin outlets of Tesco… and all was well with the world again.

Read: Here’s what’s happening in Dublin for St Patrick’s Day

Read: Irish tourism had a big Christmas and New Year 

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