VIDEO: Joanne O'Riordan secures university place to study criminology
Disability rights champion Joanne O’Riordan has achieved her dream and secured a place with University College Cork to study criminology.
The Quercus scholarship has been offered to Joanne as part of an active citizen programme which acknowledges individuals work within the community.
Joanne has been left gobsmacked by the offer as it will essentially provide her with all the necessary tools to have a great college experience.
Joanne said: "It’s a fantastic day. I have always wanted to go to University and be part of a wider network of education. What UCC have offered me is simply unbelievable!
"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.
"I want people to understand that education is a way to a better life. Education should be inclusive and open to all abilities. We need to invest in our future because our future is the key to our success as a country."
Her Mother Ann added: "Joanne has been extremely lucky with her education and while over the years we’ve had to fight to get her certain things to help her, the fight has been worth it."
Joanne will begin her three years of study this autumn.
She said: "I’ve always been interested in crime and how a criminal behaves. 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."
Dad Joe added: "When Joanne sets her mind to doing something she does it. 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."
UCC have transformed the complex in which Joanne will live for the next three years.
Joanne said: "They have gone the extra mile in adapting the house I will live in. They are making the environment in which I will study more accessible.
"I hope that these changes will not only help me but others like me. Today is not just a good day for people with disabilities, it’s a great day! Roll on the good times #UCCWATCHOUT."