Courtney McGrath – Trinity College Dublin
Course: Business and Sociology
At first glance, Cavan’s Courtney McGrath is just your typical Trinity College Dublin student. Young, bubbly, trendy, and with a change in hairstyle and colour nearly every week. But her lack of a Cavan accent is a clue to the challenge that she and hundreds of other young Irish students have to overcome on the road to education – Courtney is profoundly deaf and can only hear through her bilateral cochlear implants. As TCD Students Union Officer for Student’s with Disabilities 2019/20, she provides viewers with a unique insight into how she and her fellow students have ‘invisible disabilities’ and the opportunities and challenges that remain for students with disabilities.
“From participating in the documentary, I have grown to be more confident and started to believe in myself. I hope that people with disabilities watch the documentary and realise they are capable of achieving anything. I believe in you.”
Trinity College Dublin Access & Disability Fast Facts
- Over 40 staff members work in Access and Disability services at TCD including occupational therapists, Assistive Technology Officers and schools outreach teams.
- 24% of first year students have entered Trinity via alternative access routes from under-represented groups.
- Over the last 3 years 572 Mature students have registered at TCD.
- Over the last 3 years 2860 HEAR students have registered at TCD and over 693 DARE students
- The most significant increase from 18/19 to 19/20 was in the category of Mental Health (26% of students registered with a disability)
- Well known access and disability graduates include: Mark Pollock – Explorer and motivational speaker, Lynn Ruane – Senator, Gary Gannon – TD, Social Democrats, Sinead Burke – Teacher, author, academic, activist and influencer and Vivian Rath – appointed to the first statutory advisory committee in Ireland to support monitoring of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Initiatives that Trinity College Dublin are proud of include:
- Trinity Ability Co-Op: established in May 2020 as a student-lead initiative in partnership with the Disability Service to promote and improve inclusion in Trinity
- A whole school access intervention –Trinity Access 21 – including structured professional development for teachers
- Their recent response to Covid-19 – Tech2Students
Director, Disability Service, Trinity College Dublin
“The mission of the Trinity Disability Service (DS) is to empower students with disabilities to achieve their potential and, in collaboration with students, engage the University community in creating an inclusive transformational environment and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion. The ethos of the Trinity College Dublin Disability Service is to move from a transactional model of provision – where students are passive recipients of supports – to a transformational model of resource usage, where students take an active part in planning their educational journey.”