Deliveroo rider João Ferreira has ‘a long journey’ ahead after losing part of leg in incident with Garda car

Brazilian was struck by Garda vehicle when stopped near junction 11, Tallaght, in pursuit of friend’s stolen bicycle

The Brazilian Deliveroo rider who was seriously injured in an incident involving a Garda vehicle on the M50 has described the moment he was told that part of his leg would be amputated: “It wasn’t easy to realise that you lost a part of a leg … it was very, very tough.”

João Ferreira (23) was among several Brazilians who were trying to assist a friend in recovering a stolen bike on October 28th by following a tracking device. Gardaí were also involved in the search.

Ferreira and several friends had stopped near junction 11, Tallaght, on the motorway when he was struck by a Garda vehicle. He lost part of his right leg in the incident, faced a long recovery and is now at home with his family.

“When my friends and I tracked the stolen bike using a device, we started following the directions and on the way we found the gardaí and asked for help,” says Ferreira. “Arriving at the scene, I remember stopping my motorbike and going in the direction of my friend’s bike lying on the road … it was when everything happened and the police car hit me.”


He says everything happened in a matter of seconds.

“I didn’t have enough time to react. It was all very fast. I tried to jump, but I wasn’t quick enough. I was conscious. When lying on the road, I started feeling so much pain. There were three friends who helped me a lot at the time. One of them put my head on his lap, the other made the tourniquet.”

Ferreira was a patient at Tallaght University Hospital for 50 days where he underwent several surgeries and procedures. He was discharged last Monday and says that it “was very painful and a complicated recovery time”.

“I feel pain to this day, but it is not even compared to how it was at the beginning. Now it’s so much better … I had a lot of support from my mom and my girlfriend. There were many nights without sleep, in pain, with morphine helping me with the pain. But today, thank God, I don’t need morphine anymore.

“At the scene, I already knew that losing my leg could happen. So when I woke up, I asked my mom to tell me the truth and she did. It’s not easy knowing that you’ve lost part of your leg. You ask yourself many questions that don’t have answers or questions that you’ll have answers for later on.”

Ferreira was a regular cyclist, participated in competitions and at the gym. He enjoyed training and building strength in his legs. He says that talking to others who also underwent amputation has helped him to understand the aftermath.

“It was a slow process to accept the fact that I lost a leg. So, this helped me understand that not everything was lost. Technology is so advanced that there are a number of prosthetic legs that will allow me to do plenty of things. I still have a long rehabilitation journey. I lost 20 kilos and this really affected me. But now I’ll do my best to adapt and have a normal life.”

Since moving to Dublin five years ago with his girlfriend, he has worked as a Deliveroo rider and says their community is supportive and is always there to help.

“As a delivery rider, you have the freedom to work when you want. And it’s also about making friends. When I came here for an eight-month English course, Ireland was a dream to me … to study, to improve my English skills.”

Sheila Thomaz, Ferreira’s mother, spoke of her relief in having her son at home to spend Christmas together as a family after this difficult time.

“The most important thing is that he is alive. I’ve always told him that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost a leg if you’re alive. There is no problem. He’ll get a prosthesis … he is 23 years old and still has his whole life ahead,” she says.

A Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission investigation into the incident is under way and Ferreira is due to give his official statement this week.

Ms Thomaz says that she intends to remain in Ireland until the investigation is complete and has sold a family apartment in Brazil to help with the expenses.

Ferreira’s father, Anderson Farias, the mayor of São José dos Campos, and his two sisters and grandmother arrived in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon to spend Christmas together as a family.

“It was very important to have my family here with me. And now, after four years since I spent Christmas with my family, we are all going to be together again. And regardless of what happened, having them here will be great,” says Ferreira. “I was very anxious to leave the hospital as soon as possible and to have this moment with them. But thank God everything will be fine and we will be able to spend Christmas and New Year’s [Eve] together.”

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