Joanne O'Riordan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joanne O'Riordan
Born (1996-04-24) 24 April 1996 (age 23)
Home townMillstreet, Cork, Ireland
TelevisionThe Late Late Show
RelativesSteven O'Riordan (brother)
AwardsCork Person of the Month
Young Person of the Year

Joanne O'Riordan (born 24 April 1996) is a sports journalist who contributes to the Irish Times and is one of seven currently living people born with the condition Tetra-amelia syndrome, and is from Millstreet, County Cork, Ireland. She has addressed the United Nations and discussed technology with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Apple.[1]

Rise to fame[edit]

After developing "a random obsession" with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (with who she happens to share a birthday, 24 April), she took the morning off school during her Junior Certificate mock examinations to meet the future Taoiseach before the 2011 general election. Kenny was filmed vowing that he would not reduce disability funding if elected.[1] Upon election Kenny cut disability funding and O'Riordan wrote a letter of disappointment.[1] Her public confrontation with Enda Kenny contributed to O'Riordan's increased profile. The government later changed its mind.[2] She later explained: "I thought Enda Kenny was a cool guy, you know, he always seemed really relaxed, and easy going. So I only went up for a picture and one of our local people from home was like ‘why don't you ask him about people with disabilities’, so I did and the local television were recording because it was a big thing for Millstreet, our Future Taoiseach coming. I suppose it was one really small thing that you just do and it just turned into a big thing."[3]

An invitation to appear on The Late Late Show, the world's longest running chat show, followed. This brought her further attention. Ahead of her second appearance on June 2012, The Irish Times described O'Riordan as "one of the guests on the show in recent years who has made the most impact on viewers".[1]

In April 2012, O'Riordan spoke before the United Nations in New York City, giving an address on the use of technology and challenging those present to build a robot for her to use.[4] A standing ovation followed.[5]

Her brother Steven made a film of her life, titled No Limbs No Limits.[6]

Awards and honours[edit]

O'Riordan has received a Cork Person of the Month award, having been nominated by MEP Brian Crowley.[7] In September 2000, she was named Young Person of the Year at the People of the Year Awards, Ireland's version of an honours system, which has been televised each year for many decades.[8]

In 2014, she was awarded the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.[9][10] She was Grand Marshall at Dublin's St Patrick's Festival parade in 2016, the youngest ever.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Boland, Rosita (1 June 2012). "Joanne O'Riordan: 'People used to say: she's the one with no arms or legs. They're nicer now'". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Read Me: 'I'm unique' – Joanne O'Riordan on a life without limbs". The Journal. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Joanne O'Riordan on challenging the Taoiseach". UTV. 3 December 2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Cork teenager Joanne O'Riordan issues challenge to hi-tech sector". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  5. ^ Sweeney, Niamh (27 April 2012). "Technology is limb I never had Joanne O'Riordan tells UN". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Funds needed to finish Irish film". RTÉ Ten. RTÉ. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Joanne O'Riordan is August Cork Person of the Month". Southern Star.
  8. ^ Wynne, Fiona (16 September 2012). "Joanne ya good thing". The Sun. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Joanne O'Riordan wins the Outstanding Young Person award". RTÉ News. 27 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Joanne O'Riordan honoured at ceremony in Japan". RTÉ News. 7 November 2015.
  11. ^ Pollak, Sorcha (25 February 2016). "Activist Joanne O'Riordan to lead St Patrick's Day parade: Disability rights campaigner from Cork to be grand marshal for Dublin festival headliner". The Irish Times.

External links[edit]