Cork girl born with no limbs plans to take United Nations conference by storm

Joanne O'Riordan

A brave Cork girl will address the United Nations in New York on Monday on how technology has changed her life.

Joanne O’Riordan was born 15 years ago with no limbs but now leads a very active life thanks to technology.

She is to address an ITU conference at the United Nations when she will deliver a keynote speech how technology has helped her advance her life through both education and the social environment around her.

Joanne is the only person with a disability invited to the exclusive conference entitled ‘Girls in Technology’.

The Irish Sun newspaper reports that Joanne is a ‘whiz on a computer, uses her iPhone like a tekkie, excels in school and drives her wheelchair like F1 champion Sebastian Vettel’.
The Millstreet native plans to take the conference – and the 300 delegates – by storm.

She told the paper: “I have never been to America so I am really looking forward to this trip.

“The problem is when I start talking it is hard to shut me up, but I will be on my best behaviour.”

Joanne has Total Amelia, a condition which affects fewer than a dozen people worldwide.

Proud mum Ann said: “Joanne is a typical example of why everyone is entitled to a chance in life and she makes up for her lack of limbs in other ways.

“She is bright and intelligent and has taught us a lot about survival and making the most of what you have.”

At the conference, Joanne will address some of the technology world’s leading female decision makers and hopes her speech will empower others to realise the importance of technology in their lives.

Joanne’s brother Steven is producing a documentary on his sister’s extraordinary life.

He has received funding from the Irish film board for the movie entitled ‘No Limbs No Limits’.

Steven and Joanne hope the work will highlight the ‘positive and lasting effect on how people perceive those with disabilities in Ireland and beyond’.

He has already made a film entitled ‘The Forgotten Maggies’, a documentary charting the human rights issues surrounding the Magdalene Laundries.