Student who missed seven weeks of school in bid to save flood-hit home passes Leaving Cert

Luke Kinsella at his home last year, battling the floodwaters.

A teenager who missed seven weeks of his Leaving Certificate school year, in a bid to save his flood-hit home during last year’s devastating winter storms, has ambitions to develop a flood defence plan for his community after qualifying for an engineering course.

Luke Kinsella, then aged 16, attracted national news headlines last December, working day and night alongside his 15-year old twin siblings Jake and Philip as they maintained a barrier of sandbags around their swamped home in Springfield, Co Clare.

The trio, who previously lost their father through suicide, “became the men of the house” as they battled the tide, according to their proud mother, Bridget.

Luke, now 17, had resigned himself to repeating sixth year at Ard Scoil Rís, North Circular Rd, Limerick, after missing so much of the term — but has revealed that he passed his Leaving Certificate with flying colours.

He hopes to work with Clare County Council, and one day wants to engineer a plan to divert floodwaters that annually threaten the homes in his neighbourhood.

“I was five weeks off school pumping water from home in the flood, along with my brothers,” said Luke.

“I started studying when I went back to school in February. I went back two weeks before my pre-exams. I was fighting the floods for seven weeks, all truth be told, as we had Christmas holidays in between.”

Finding it hard to catch up at school, Luke told his mother he would most likely be repeating his exams.

“I got civil engineering management in Limerick Institute of Technology. It’s a four-year level 8 honours bachelor degree course. I’d like to work in marine infrastructure, building ports, and get involved in wave energy, all that kind of stuff.

“I’m interested in anything to do with construction. To do anything on marine infrastructure you have to do a masters, on top of the degree course. That’s my intention, my plan in life,” said Luke.

“I assume flooding would be touched on in the course. I’d like to do something that would help us and our neighbours not having to put up the same barricades every year, and reduce the risk of our house being destroyed.

“I’d like to start off working for a county council or an international construction company.”

The Kinsellas and their neighbours received a bag of supplies from Mohammed Al Kabour, living in Meath, who read about the flood-hit community.

Luke and his brothers thanked Mr Al Kabour, who also paid for exam grinds for the boys.

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