Róisín’s story helps challenge Down syndrome stereotype

AN inspirational student is breaking down stereotypes surrounding Down syndrome after flying through school and earning a place in university.

Róisín de Búrca is believed to be one of the few Irish students with the condition to complete a full Leaving Certificate.

Now, the 20-year-old from Lettermore in Co Galway would like to enjoy all aspects of student life away from home.

The determined student said she doesn’t see any barriers to living life just like her six siblings.

She said: “I think I’m breaking new ground for people with Down syndrome and for other people to do something with their life.

“In the future I can see myself falling in love with someone and having a house and children too.

“I’m in university in Galway and the future is bright for sure.”

The middle of seven children, she was brought up in Connemara and now lives with her older brother Bartley in Galway.

“I’d like to meet people with disabilities at university,” she said.”

“My family give me a lot of support in my life. I’m the only one in the family with Down syndrome so I think I’m very special because it’s a wonderful thing.

“Independence for Róisín means just being able to do things for myself. It means you can go to the pub for a few pints. All my brothers went to college so why wouldn’t I?”

After taking seven subjects for her Leaving Cert, she is now studying Celtic Civilisation and Irish Studies.

In a TG4 documentary, Bac is Bua, her mother Eibhlín Ní Chionnaith revealed she always treated Róisin the same as her other children. “When Róisín was born and when I realised she’d have difficulties I started to think of all of my children and there’s actually no difference at all.”

She said her daughter, who is writing a book, always showed a flair for writing.

“She’s been writing drama, stories and poems since she’s been young.

“She did the full Leaving Cert and passed it and did a FETAC level 5 course and passed that.

“It’s natural she would go onto university like her brothers. I’m sure there are lots of people with Down syndrome who can do such things if they get a chance.”

* Cogar: Bac is Bua is on TG4 on Sunday at 9.30pm.

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