Belfast Telegraph

Ulster University graduations: Ciaran defies the odds and cancer to achieve longed-for law degree

By Staff Reporter

He left school with no qualifications, battled and beat cancer - and now father-of-three Ciaran Boyle graduates today from Ulster University with a first-class honours degree in law.

Raised by his mother in Londonderry, Ciaran was the eldest of four children and sacrificed his education to keep their home life stable for his younger siblings.


He spent many years doing various jobs and was driving a taxi when he was persuaded by his partner, among others, to return to education.

Ciaran completed an access course at North West Regional College, run in conjunction with Ulster University, with one year of intense study providing him with a route into higher education.

He said: "I left secondary school with no qualifications and my teachers had written me off.

"I always felt that I had missed the opportunities that studying at university can bring as the years went on.

"But then I found out about the Ulster University widening access programme and choosing to enrol was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

"I quickly realised that I could sit and pass exams and ultimately that I could fulfil my dreams and get to university.

"Law was always the course I wanted to enrol in, I just never thought I would get enough points to study it."

While completing the access course Ciaran got a devastating call from the doctor advising him that he had a tumour in his neck that needed to be removed.

"My cancer diagnosis shook me to the core, I was in hospital for six weeks and was very ill during that time. With the help and support of my lecturers I came out fighting and in the second year of my studies I was given the all-clear.

"I'm now more focused than ever to chase the career of my dreams. I'm hoping to take the Bar exams as I have dreams of becoming a barrister working in human rights. In September I'm getting married, so lots to celebrate this year."

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