Alumni Spotlight

Susan O'Keeffe - Investigative Journalist

7 Nov
Susan O'Keeffe

Susan O'Keeffe is an investigative journalist and a former member of Seanad Eireann (2011-2016). She worked for many years with BBC Current Affairs and Granada TV's ‘World in Action’ series. Her ground-breaking documentary ‘Money for Nothing’ resulted in the Beef Tribunal that shocked Ireland in the 1990’s. Susan also made the programme ‘Sins of the Fathers’, the first to reveal abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Course/subjects studied in UCC

Dairy & Food Science - I believe it was the first year that numbers reached 40, of which 10 were women, probably also the most women on the course to that time.

Best memory of UCC 

Standing under the arch to read my exam results on the notice board and confirming that I had passed!

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

Specifically, my qualification helped directly to write about agriculture, agribusiness and ultimately led to the World in Action programme about the beef industry that defined my career. Running the Dairy & Food Society gave me confidence to organise and build teams and also taught me the value of forward planning and hard work.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Don't just pursue your academic interest; what you achieve outside of your qualification is what will define you in the future and will help to build a more rounded career.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you? 

The extern who interviewed me about my final year thesis (in food technology) and pointed out that I should consider a career in journalism rather than science! I can’t remember his name, but since I had always harboured a desire to be a journalist, this was all the encouragement I needed.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

I played hockey for UCC for three years. It was a terrific experience and the friends I made there have stayed friends. I was elected president of the Dairy & Food Science Society in my final year, with responsibility for running the famous Cowpunchers' Ball. What a responsibility!

Favourite UCC legend or superstition

That Cowpunchers had the best fun at UCC - which was more than a legend.

Development and Alumni Office

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5 Brighton Villas, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland

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