Inspirational Cork teen Joanne O’Riordan has received the Cork Person of the Month award for August. The Daily Shift’s Denise O’Donoghue reports…
Millstreet-born teen Joanne O’Riordan has been awarded the Cork Person of the Month for August. Joanne was presented with the award for her bravery and determination.
Last December Joanne captured media attention with an open letter to Enda Kenny published in the Irish Examiner. In her letter she criticised the government’s choice to cut disability allowance for 16-year-olds, especially as earlier that year the Taoiseach personally guaranteed her that there would be no cuts to disability payments:
“You told me that day there would be no cuts to the disability payments as you wanted to protect us. I took you on your word and I thought your word would be good enough.”
Following her appeal, the government was forced to backtrack on their decision.
Later that month Joanne appeared on the Late Late Show. Host Ryan Tubridy has said that she was the most impressive guest he had on the show since he started.
Last April Joanne was invited to New York on the week of her 16th birthday to address the United Nations’ Girls in Technology conference where she received a standing ovation when she spoke about the impact technology has had on her life:
“Technology is the limb I never had.”
Joanne was born with a condition known as Total Amelia Syndrome, which means that she was born without limbs. She is one of only seven people in the world who suffer from this condition.
Her brother, Steven, whose documentary The Forgotten Maggies was screened on TG4 last year, is currently filming a documentary on her life, entitled No Limbs No Limits. It is expected to be released next year.
Joanne was nominated for the Cork Person of the Month Award by Brian Crowley MEP and her cousin Denise O’Donoghue. She will attend a Gala Awards Lunch in the presence of President Michael D. Higgins on January 18 where a Cork Person of the Year will be selected from among the 12 monthly winners.
Featured image courtesy of Tony O’Connell Photography.