Boyzone's Keith Duffy 'proudest parent' as daughter with autism graduates

26 October 2022, 12:51 | Updated: 26 October 2022, 13:07

The former Boyzone star’s youngest child Mia graduated from Dublin City University this week.
The former Boyzone star’s youngest child Mia graduated from Dublin City University this week. Picture: Instagram

The Irish singer says his youngest child's university degree is the 'biggest milestone ever'.

Boyzone's Keith Duffy has branded himself the 'proudest parent in the world' after his daughter Mia, who has autism, graduated from university this week.

The former pop star and his wife Lisa attended the official ceremony to watch their youngest child, 22, accept a BSc in Enterprise Computing from Dublin City University (DCU).

It's a moment the Irish singer doubted he'd ever see following Mia's journey with autism, which began when she was diagnosed at just 18-months-old.

Taking to Instagram to share the incredible moment, Keith wrote: "To all who have followed our story for over 20 years Today marks the biggest milestone ever. Mia Graduating from Dublin City University with honours. A day we where made to believe would never happen.

"We are blessed for all your support and that Mia was given every opportunity to reach her full potential only by never taking ‘No’ for an answer from anyone along the way.

"We are the proudest parents in the world. Mia herself has always pushed herself and worked hard to achieve her own Goals and continues to do so.

"Please take the positive from this and See believe and achieve! Yes you can yes we can."

Celebrity friends shared messages of congratulations on the sweet post, which saw a beaming Keith cuddling up to Mia in her mortar board and gown as she held her degree certificate.

"Soooooooo Proud!! love to all. I remember holding the wee baby in my arms!! Superb achievement!!," gushed Vernon Kay.

Former bandmate Ronan Keating wrote: "Incredible. Congratulations Mia. Well done Family," alongside a comment from his wife Storm which read: "Go Mia!!! She is certainly one in 6.5 billion. Sending huge congrats from all the Keatings x."

Welsh TV presenter Gethin Jones said: "I’ve followed your story. And this is FAB. Congrats Mia x."

Irish comedian Des Bishop added: “This has me crying a bit with joy. Congrats to Mia! Such an awesome family.”

Mia previously opened up about her self-doubt but also expressed that she received support from her university to help her reach her goals.

She revealed that she was given extra time to complete her exams and "was able to do them on a laptop and on my own in a smaller exam centre".

The computer science graduate also heaped praise onto dad Keith and mum Lisa for being there for her when times got tough.

She added: “I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my parents. I kept thinking ‘am I smart enough?’ But I guess if you have parents who really love you, you should listen them. They’re not just telling you you can do it because they’re family; it’s because you need to hear it."

Keith has also been vocal about the struggles those living with autism face, especially when it comes to accessing services, and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness over the years.

Speaking of his daughter during World Autism Awareness Day, he beamed about her progress, saying: "She’s doing wonderful – we’re very, very proud of her.

"Mia’s very determined. She puts a lot of pressure on herself, but she achieves a great amount, and that was all down to appropriate intervention at the right stage of her life, which we had to fight hand over tooth for, but we got there."

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