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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

'I think they thought it was an easy target': Paralympian has adapted car stolen from his driveway

He is supposed to be going to the UK for a race this weekend.

PARALYMPIAN JOHN MCCARTHY has had his specially adapted car stolen from his driveway in Lucan.

Gardaí are investigating the theft, which occurred between midnight last night and 8am this morning in Abbeywood, Lucan.

McCarthy has been paralysed since he hit his head while diving into a river in 1992. He won a silver medal for discus at the Athens Paralympics and is a wheelchair racer at 100m and 400m distances. He is also a wheelchair-rugby player.

‘Your car is missing’

Speaking to the Ray D’Arcy show on RTÉ today, he said that he went to bed around 11.30pm last night, and at round 8.30am today his home help came in.

“She said to me: ‘I didn’t think you’d be here, your car was missing’,” he said.

I’m a wheelchair user so the car has hand controls on it, it has a steering knob on it. Whoever got into this car knew that somebody with special needs owns that car.

He said it is not easy to get a replacement car or hire car that is adapted to his needs.

McCarthy said that the culprits would have seen a ramp in the front door to his house, and a handrail, while they were entering the premises. “I think they knew what sort of house they were going into in the first place,” he said.

I don’t think there was any guilt involved in what they were doing, I think they just thought ‘this is a nice easy target’.

The only thing in the house that was taken was the set of car keys, which was on the kitchen table.

McCarthy is due to take part in the Paralympic Games in September in Rio de Janeiro. 

The timing of the incident is particularly saddening for the athlete, as he recently spent a week in hospital and is recovering from a serious illness.

He described what happened this morning as “another setback”. However, he was glad that his racing chair, which would usually be in his car, was in his house and so not stolen.

McCarthy is due to take part in the UK national championships this weekend, and hopes he can still attend.  

Gardaí in Ronanstown are investigating the theft of the car. They are appealing for members of the public for assistance in tracing the vehicle.

The car:

  • Is a black Audi A6 estate
  • Has the registration number 12 C
  • Has been specially adapted and modified for the owner

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Ronanstown garda station on 01 6667700, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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