‘It’s inspiring to see mother and daughter graduate with degrees’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A MOTHER and daughter both graduated together at TU Dublin-Tallaght Campus’ conferring ceremony at the Maldron Hotel last week, where they were awarded their degrees in Social Care Practice by their sister and aunty respectively – the college’s Head of Humanities, Helena Doody.

Sibheal Doody (43) and her daughter Lauren Derwin Doody (21), who both live in Ballycragh in Tallaght, tackled their final year of college together, after Lauren encouraged her mother to return to college for a year to gain an honours bachelor degree after having already earned an ordinary degree in social work several years ago.

Doody clan at TU Dublin compressor

Helena Doody, TU Dublin-Tallaght Campus (centre) with her sister Sibheal Doody and her daughter Lauren Derwin Doody at the graduation

Sibheal’s path to academic success wasn’t straightforward, as she failed her Junior Certificate and didn’t do a Leaving Certificate, having struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia at the time.

The mother-of-four started working at St John of God’s Liffey Services in Kildare in 2001, as her sister Helena was also working there at the time, and developed a passion for working in social care and decided to return to college as a mature student, and gained a BA in social care from IT Blanchardstown in 2011.

Sibheal told The Echo: “My daughter told me I should go back to college and get an honours degree. It was a bit weird at first, because we were in some of the same lectures, and my husband said that by the end of it he had a degree after listening to us!

“We helped each other, and she’d be correcting my continuous assessment assignments and letting me know where I was going wrong.”

At 18, Lauren began working in St John of God’s Liffey Services shortly after she began studying for a BA (Hons) degree in social care practice in 2015, and as the final year of her course approached, she encouraged her mother to join her and do a top-up year to gain an honours degree.

The past pupil of St MacDara’s Community College told The Echo: “I encouraged my mam because I knew she’d be able to do it.

“College is hard enough, but my mam was such a support to me. The two of us were working together and studying together.

“We started going for walks, and coming up to our exams we’d quiz each other during our walks.”

The course lecturers regularly joked that ‘the Doodys were taking over’, according to Lauren, as her aunty, and Sibheal’s sister, Helena Doody, is TU Dublin-Tallaght Campus’ Head of Humanities, and awarded the degrees to the two women at their graduation ceremony last week.

Lauren added: “I think it’s inspiring for people to see a mother and daughter getting the same degree at the same time. You’re never too old for education.

“I was just so happy I got to do this with my mam, it was so overwhelming.”

Lauren, who also works as a family support worker at Empowerment Plus - Youth, Family & Community Support Services, said that herself and her mam might consider doing a master’s degree together, but added “it would be years down the line. I think I’m too young to get a master’s now!”

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