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‘Give Ben his bike back’


PRIDE AND JOY Ben O’Donnell with his bike, which was stolen in Tiernaur while he and his family were taking a break from cycling the Great Western Greenway.

Family say theft has left them ‘devastated’

Áine Ryan

“Give Ben his bike back.” It has been his Mammy’s mantra since soon after lunchtime on Sunday, August 1.
That’s when her eldest son’s bicycle was stolen from outside Nevin’s of Tiernaur.    
It was meant to be the highlight of their staycation in Westport: a family adventure along the Great Western Greenway. Now it has been ‘ruined’ by the inexplicable and unusual theft – by all accounts – on the country’s most popular greenway.  
This family of five are from Ashford, Co Wicklow, and with eldest son, Ben (7), and daddy Patrick O’Donnell both seriously keen cyclists, this was a day for showing off to mammy Florence Dowling and the two younger boys, Finn (6) and Ted (4).   
Like all little boys (and girls), Ben’s bicycle has been his trusty steed since his doting parents gave it to him as a birthday present. So watch out for the missing bright green Ghost Kato 20-inch mountain bike.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), Florence explains: “Ben is an avid mountain biker, just like his Dad. We live in a very mountainous area, so biking with Patrick and his little friends is his life here. We were all so excited to start the Greenway adventure, and were up early on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday. We had a big brekkie and were ready for our big day, making the most of our staycation and ready to explore.”
But then their magical day was tainted by this senseless theft.

Local support
Praising John Nevin, of the famous gastro pub, and Garda Conor O’Malley for all their efforts in trying to locate, the stolen bicycle and indeed helmet, Florence explained: “We were holidaying in Westport all last week. On the second day of the our trip we did the Achill to Newport cycle along the greenway. We stopped at Nevin’s outside Mulranny for lunch, and it was during this time when our young son’s mountain bike was taken, along with his helmet. It has ‘Ben’ emblazoned on both sides. My husband’s mountain biking helmet was also taken. Needless to say we were absolutely devastated and our poor boy was and still is inconsolable. He is seven years old and his bike is the most important thing in his life. Who would steal a child’s bike on the greenway? Luckily I had a trailer on my bike so I was able to bring him and our younger son back to Newport but it completely destroyed our holiday. Mr Nevin was equally upset and the gardaí in Westport were very supportive,” Ms Dowling said.
She added they were appealing to the person who took Ben’s bike to ‘please, please return it the Garda station in Westport’.
“Our son is devastated,”  she concluded.

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