Olympian couple had no way home
When Larry Buckley of Douglas Street Cabs heard the news that Rob and Marian Heffernan were getting the bus down to Cork after arriving back to Dublin from the Olympic Games, there was only one thing he could do, and that was to offer to collect them from Dublin Airport.
The taxi driver from Killeens said he couldn't believe it when he heard on The Neil Prendeville Show on 96FM that the Douglas couple who represented Ireland in London 2012 would have to get the bus down from Dublin.
"When I heard it on the radio, I said to myself, this can't be happening, after all Rob came so close to winning a medal last Saturday in the 50 km and the least they should be doing is getting a bus down to Cork after arriving back with Team Ireland at Dublin Airport. It was disgraceful and I just thought something had to be done. They represented our country and should at least be driven home."
Larry rang 96FM straight away and offered to drive up to Dublin to collect them at his own cost such was his frustration with the situation. Once contact was made with the Heffernans, Larry headed off to Dublin.
"While I was driving up I got word that Paudie Dineen of 'The Dilly Dally Inn' on Quaker Road was offering to cover the cost of the return trip to Dublin so it was great to see this community spirit kicking in to honour our Olympic athletes. This shouldn't have been happening that they would have to resort to getting the bus down."
Larry eventually met the Heffernans at Dublin Airport at around 4pm and he said they were delighted to be getting a lift back home.
"They were pretty shattered to be honest but in good form and were thrilled to be heading home after a hectic few weeks. We had a bit of a laugh on the way down and they ultimately found out that there would be welcoming home reception back in Douglas when I got a call on bluetooth and they heard the whole thing so they thought that was hilarious."
When Larry and the Heffernans arrived home to Bracken Court in Douglas they were greeted by an array of flags and bunting as all their neighbours and families gathered to congratulate them and there were choruses of 'Ole Ole' airing throughout the neighbourhood.
"It was disgraceful the way they were treated and I was just happy to do something for them as they worked very hard to get to the Olympics."
Rob and Marian presented Larry with a Team Ireland T-shirt which he proudly wears.
Rob Heffernan finished fourth in the 50km walk and recorded the best-ever Irish Olympic result in the distance and set a new Irish record in the process.