She will be the youngest person to ever lead the parade, which weaves through the streets of Dublin on March 17 as part of the larger St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
Joanne is one of only seven people living in the world today who were born without limbs – a condition known as Total Amelia. The Cork native shot to fame in recent years after her brother Steven filmed a documentary about Joanne and their family, titled “No Limbs, No Limits.”
Joanne went on to address the United Nations in New York at its inaugural 'Girls in ICT' conference in 2012, and last year she was named Outstanding Young Person of the Year by Junior Chamber International.
O'Riordan was thrilled with her appointment as Grand Marshal and yesterday she shared the great news on social media.
BREAKING NEWS: Delighted, honoured, privileged & totally excited to announce I will be this years Grand Marshal... https://t.co/8SvLSGw097— No Limbs No Limits (@NolimbsNolimits) February 25, 2016
During a press conference in Dublin yesterday, O’Riordan, who is a student in the criminology program at University College Cork, said she initially hadn’t realized she would be the youngest person to lead the parade.
“19 years old to be leading a parade… I think it’s class. Jesus, I never actually thought of being the youngest person at all,” The Journal quoted her as saying.
More importantly, she added, the role would give her a platform for her disability rights activism.
“I have been around the globe, to New York and Japan, giving the people with a disability in this world a voice. To be able to come home and be the grand marshal in this parade – it helps the people of Ireland see it’s not the disability, it’s the ability. I am proud to be in the St Patrick’s Day Festival and I’m incredibly proud to be a voice for the voiceless,” she said.
A statement on the St. Patrick’s Festival their website declared, “It is fitting that Joanne will lead out the parade as the youngest ever Grand Marshal as in 2016 the festival will celebrate the future as part of the Ireland 2016 program for Youth & Imagination with the theme Imagine If…”
Joanne joins a prestigious list of Patrick’s Day Grand Marshals, including singer Nicky Byrne, boxer Katie Taylor, legendary GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, and most recently Brendan O’Carroll of "Mrs. Brown’s Boys" fame.
It will also mark the first time O'Riordan has ever spent St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.
Watch her 2012 UN speech here: