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  • Northside West

Colm overcomes fear to speak at United Nations

Tuesday, 31st January, 2017 2:00pm
Colm overcomes fear to speak at United Nations

Colm O’Rourke’s shared his inspirational story online.

Colm overcomes fear to speak at United Nations

Colm O’Rourke’s shared his inspirational story online.

A CABRA man’s inspirational story of getting over a fear of public speaking to deliver a speech to the United Nations has gone viral.

Colm O’Rourke’s moving tale was published on the Humans of Dublin website and the story has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and generated dozens of thankful responses.

Colm - a PR professional who works in communications - is currently a United Nations Youth Delegate for Ireland, representing the views of Irish young people at an international level.

With his UN role, Colm is a keynote speaker and can often be found addressing prestigious events both in Ireland and abroad. However, as he recounted for Humans of Dublin, he hasn’t always been comfortable speaking to an audience.

“I was painfully shy as a child,” he said. “I remember the moments when my school reports would be delivered to my house. I always did very well in my subjects but every year in the comment box it was always the same; my teachers encouraged me to not be as shy in the classroom.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to engage more, I really did, it was just that I was petrified of public speaking. It really frightened me but I didn’t want to be like that.”

When Colm got to university, an opportunity to run for class rep came up. The rep had to deliver a speech at the top of the lecture theatre to hundreds of students and although it was his worst nightmare, he decided to go for it.

“Something clicked with me that I was fearful of the unknown, so how could I possibly make a judgement about something I hadn’t fully grappled with?,” he recalled.

“I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t going to get out of it any other way, and I decided to use that opportunity there and then.

“I got up and delivered a speech against a few others. It actually went well, and I won, but most bizarrely was that I enjoyed it. So after that, I got involved with the debating team and other public speaking opportunities.

“Before I knew it I was winning competitions and was being invited to speak at events across the world. Last October, I delivered a speech to the United Nations. I never thought I’d be offered such an opportunity.

“Great things don’t come from comfort zones, you have to push yourself and keep on trying. You’ll get there and you’ll thank yourself for it.”

Colm’s story can be found online at The website was created by photographer Peter Varga and is a collection of portraits and short quotes from strangers on the streets of Dublin.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here