Spokeout Winter 2014
Fri, 02 Jan 2015
Interview with Sean O'Kelly
An ecstatic Sean gives New York the thumbs-up after arriving in his hotel room overlooking Times Square in Feb 2014

Interview with Sean O'Kelly

In conversation with Joanna Marsden, IWA member Sean O’Kelly from South County Dublin reveals his personal highlights of 2014, as well as his ambitions for the New Year

WHAT’S KEEPING YOU BUSY AT THE MOMENT?
Well, I’m in my final year of a four-year course in ‘Office Admin and Computer Applications’ at the Bray Institute of Further Education. With less than a year to go, my mind is naturally turning towards employment and I’m hoping there’ll be opportunities out there!

WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2014 FOR YOU?
Definitely going to New York in February. What an amazing city. I’ll never forget looking out the window of the 88th floor of The Empire State Building, or how emotional I felt when I visited Ground Zero. [See Sean’s review of NY on p41] Also, I have to mention having my first driving lesson in October. That was a personal milestone.

HOW ARE YOU FINDING LEARNING TO DRIVE?
Getting behind the wheel has just been brilliant. I had my assessment in IWA Clontarf on 13th October and I haven’t looked back. I even enjoyed the assessment itself, although it did include some pretty difficult visual and audio skill tests. Once I got the go ahead, my first question was, ‘When can I start lessons?’ IWA booked me in that same Friday with instructor Jackie Davis, and I’ve been going every Friday afternoon since. I look forward to it all week.

WHEN DO YOU HOPE TO TAKE THE TEST?
I haven’t got a date yet but it will definitely be 2015! My confidence is growing and I’m super-enthusiastic about the whole process. It will be so brilliant to be fully independent and not to have to rely on my parents for lifts.

ANY IDEAS ABOUT WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO DRIVE?
I love cars so long-term it has to be a Porsche! But, staying in the real world, I have my eye on a Hyundai I30. I saw an adapted model at the Care & Mobility Show in the RDS earlier this year and it was impressive.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AT THE WEEKEND?
I like going into the city centre for a wander round and a coffee. I used to be a big DART user, but I find that with staff cutbacks, it can be harder to find a someone to put out the ramp. The Luas on the other hand is brilliant in terms of accessibility and I often take it from Cherrywood to St Stephen’s Green. I also like to go out locally in Dun Laoghaire. The new Nando’s is my current favourite.

WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING FOR CHRISTMAS?
The extended family usually calls over for drinks on Christmas morning, then we have about 12 for dinner this year. I particularly look forward seeing relations who’ve come home from abroad.

AND FINALLY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR 2015…
Obviously taking my driving test is a big one. And a month or two before I finish college, my plan is to register with IASE [The Irish Association of Supported Employment] to see if their mentoring scheme can help me find a Dublinbased job in administration.