Limerick theft victim set to get motoring again

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

GARDAI have reported an increase in stolen cars but one County Limerick man isn’t going to let the criminals win.

GARDAI have reported an increase in stolen cars but one County Limerick man isn’t going to let the criminals win.

Seamus O’Grady, Oola, who had his prized red Mazda MX-5 stolen by joyriders and destroyed in hours plans to rebuild it in one day.

Mr O’Grady bought the car in England as a birthday present for his wife Maura.

“I fell in love with it and I’ve driven in every county in Ireland in my role as a safety officer and trainer,” said Mr O’Grady.

However, the days of driving his Mazda seemed to have ended, ironically after he gave a driver’s course in the Maldron Hotel.

“When I came out the car was gone. It was broad daylight, about 2pm in the afternoon,” he said. The next time he saw his car was on YouTube. Hooded youths were speeding around Southill pulling handbrake turns watched by their friends. Over 7,000 people have watched the clip which shows the youngsters risking life and limb and almost killing a dog with their stunts.

Once they were finished they pelted the car with rocks. Gardai recovered the 20 year-old car and contacted Mr O’Grady.

“It had 180,000 miles on it with never a problem. They did about 10 miles in it, lasting 20 minutes and reduced it to that. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at it. A friend of mine took it away for me,” said Mr O’Grady.

The body and paintwork was ruined, bumper destroyed, every window smashed, upholstery in pieces. It even needs a new gear stick and steering wheel, the damage was so extensive.

The car cost him £2,500 sterling and now it is worth €70 to €80 for scrap. But instead of getting the car crushed Seamus decided to try and fix it up with the help of his friends in one day and raise some money for charity.

“We will have it as good as new and then they don’t win. We’re going to do it at the Vintage and Classic Show at Limerick Junction in April and we’ll drive it home at the end of the day. The car is still taxed, insured and everything,” said Mr O’Grady. The event raises thousands of euros for local charities.

With the help of Brian Berkery and Michael McNamara, from Doon; show organisers Steve Thornton and Jack Leonard and ‘Stas’ a Lithuanian panelbeater, they will work all day to get the car back on the road.

“The starter is burnt out but we have a new engine if the old one is gone. We’ll have a spare gearbox too. The bodywork has to be done, windows, upholstery everything,” said Mr O’Grady.

They even plan to increase the car’s value by putting on modifications. He says all are welcome to come and watch them and if a mechanic has half an hour to spare on the day they will put him to good use!