A young Galway girl who suffers with Down syndrome has been hailed as a hero after breaking down stereotypes and earning a place in university.
Roisin de Burca is the subject of a new television documentary which says the 20-year-old from Lettermore is one of the new Irish students with the condition to complete her Leaving Certificate.
After flying through her studies, the young Galway girl is determined to live a normal life at college, like her six siblings.
“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.”
Brought up in Connemara and now living with her older brother Bartley in Galway, Roisin is determined to complete her studies in Celtic civilization and Irish at Galway University.
“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 me 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?”
Roisin’s mother Eibhlín Ní Chionnaith told the documentary makers that she has always treated her daughters the same as her other children.
“When Róisín was born and when I realized she’d have difficulties I started to think of all of my children and there’s actually no difference at all,” said Eibhlin.
Currently working on a book, Roisin has always had a flair for writing.
“She’s been writing drama, stories and poems since she’s been young,” added her proud mum. “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.”