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Tuesday 6 December 2016

'This car will let us date like others' - wheelchair couple

Sean O'Kelly (23) from Blackrock and Megan McGuckin, 21, from Ballinteer (21)
Sean O'Kelly (23) from Blackrock and Megan McGuckin, 21, from Ballinteer (21)

A young couple in wheelchairs who have struggled to go on dates can finally spin off together thanks to a €13,000 specially-adapted car.

Sean O'Kelly (23), from Blackrock, and Megan McGuckin (21), from Ballinteer, have been dating for more than five years.

However, the couple have struggled to go out together because of the lack of accessibility on public transport and at venues across the city.

Now they are one step closer to freedom thanks to a new Skoda Citigo car that Sean will be picking up from a Sandyford showroom next week.

"I'm so excited," said Sean. "For years we've had to ask our parents 'can we go out?' or ask them for a lift.

"Don't get me wrong, it's nice to be chauffeured round but we want to date like everyone else and to go out where and when we want.

"I'm still on my provisional driving licence, so someone will have to be in the car with me for a while but I'm sure I'll pass my test soon.

"I'm so predictable, the first place I'll drive my car to next week will be to Megan's house."

Sean, a marketing and digital media student at Blackrock College, started his A Day In My Wheels campaign earlier this year to highlight the problems people in wheelchairs face when trying to get around the city on public transport and in cafes, bars and restaurants.

Documentary

TG4 is set to screen a documentary about his call for disability rights and Today FM DJ Anton Savage spent a day in a wheelchair in the summer to help highlight the campaign.

"I feel very positive but there's a lot more to be done," Sean said. "I will be getting my car soon and that will be amazing for me and for Megan, it will turn our lives round."

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