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SETU graduate, Dermot Berry, received his Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Cybercrime and IT Security. His decision to enrol on the course came at a time in his life when he was navigating a life-changing spinal injury. Despite the challenges he faced, Dermot achieved a first-class honours in his degree all while representing Ireland in wheelchair basketball and winning bronze with the team at the European Championships in Sarajevo.

After suffering a stroke in June, 2018, Dermot went from working in construction and playing hurling to wondering if he would be able to walk again. After six days of paralysis, through sheer determination Dermot regained his ability to walk. He was admitted to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire where he stayed for a number of months to support his recovery.

Recounting this time in his life, Dermot said, “During my recovery, I first thought of re-entering the construction industry, perhaps in a health and safety role. However, after some soul searching, I realised I had always wanted to pursue a career in computing. From here, I decided to submit a CAO application and apply for the B.Sc. in Cybercrime and IT Security at SETU.”


Dermot’s time at SETU coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and all the challenges students faced due to remote learning. With these issues alongside that of retraining in a new field, Dermot had to persevere in the second year of the degree to learn complex theories online. He credits the approachability of lecturers and the offering of additional programming tutorial hours with helping him through the workload.

With ever-growing concern over the privacy and security of digital information, cyber-security has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the technology industry. Through its degree programme, SETU aims to provide graduates to the sector who are knowledgeable in processes, practices, implementation and assessment of both IT infrastructure and software, enabling secure and scalable solutions and those with qualifications in this field are highly sought after.

Return to sport

A part of student life that was massively impactful for Dermot during his time at SETU was the opportunity to return to life as an athlete. He commented, “During my time at the NRH, I met the Irish Wheelchair Association’s (IWA) sports officer who introduced me to wheelchair basketball. From the moment I got my hands on that ball, the true competitor came out in me. I was so happy I could play a sport again, and that I would not be held back with a disability. I’m very grateful to the sports department at SETU in Carlow, particularly Director of Sport, Donal McNally, who allowed me to practice my shooting in the early mornings on campus while I prepared to play for the Irish team.”

Part of SETU’s strategic goals for the coming years is to increase access to education for all. Key to this is the university’s diverse offering in the area of sport, supporting its students in fulfilling their sporting goals alongside academia.  

"I was so happy I could play a sport again, and that I would not be held back with a disability. I’m very grateful to the sports department at SETU in Carlow." Dermot Berry