Joanne O'Riordan shortlisted for outstanding young person award

Cork disability campaigner Joanne O’Riordan has been nominated for an awards scheme which recognises outstanding contributions by young people across the world.

Junior Chamber International, a global network for young professionals and entrepreneurs under the age of 40, has included Ms O’Riordan on a shortlist of 20 nominees for the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World programme.

Ms O’Riordan said the news has “made my entire summer”.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would be worthy of such an honour. It would be truly incredible to clinch the prize and make it all the way to Japan not just for me for Ireland as a whole,” she said.

JCI said the programme nominees “exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities”.

“Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young active citizens create positive impacts on a local and global level,” the organisation said.

The 10 recognised by the programme will be determined by both a public vote and a judging panel comprised of the JCI president and representatives of the body’s partner groups.

Those selected will be honoured during the 2015 JCI World Congress on November 7 in Kanazawa, Japan.

The nominees include young people from Brazil, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

If successful, Ms O’Riordan would be the tenth Irish person to receive the honour since 1983.

The most famous past member of the programme is actor Jackie Chan, who was recognised in 1988 for cultural achievement.

Ms O’Riordan is one of seven people in the world with Total Amelia, whereby people with the condition are born without limbs.

In November of last year, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly appointed Ms O’Riordan to an advisory council that will engage with his department on the development of its National Policy Framework for Children and Young People.

Ms O’Riordan was also the subject of a documentary film about her life.

No Limbs No Limits was directed by her brother Steven, who is to run as an Independent candidate in next year’s general election in the constituency of Cork North West.

“I told Steven he has to take a break from his canvassing for the general election, as this vote is crucial,” Ms O’Riordan said of the online poll.

“I also promised him I’d take him to Japan, but then my mother says she wants to go. It’s hard being popular but either way it would be deadly to represent Ireland in Japan.”


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