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Pad on the Back Activist Paddy Smyth wants to destigmatise dating with a disability on RTÉ show

The 33-year-old is due to appear on Wednesday night’s episode of Celebrity Pulling with My Parents, where his older sisters Tanya and Val attempt to set him up with an eligible bachelor.

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Paddy Smyth on this week's episode of Celebrity Pulling with My Parents

Paddy Smyth on this week's episode of Celebrity Pulling with My Parents

Paddy Smyth on this week's episode of Celebrity Pulling with My Parents

Television and online personality Paddy Smyth has said that he wants to break the stigma of dating with a disability with his latest RTÉ appearance.

The 33-year-old is due to appear on Wednesday night’s episode of Celebrity Pulling with My Parents, where his older sisters Tanya and Val attempt to set him up with an eligible bachelor.

Paddy, who has cerebral palsy and is a disabled rights activist, has also appeared on First Dates Ireland in his quest for love and told sundayworld.com that he wants to show viewers that people with disabilities can have great romantic lives too.

“The reason I do these shows is because I want to show a different aspect of dating with a disability and how there’s a stigma around it. I'd love to break those barriers down,” he said.

“It’s not impossible but it’s definitely different. It’s different because of the stigma surrounding it in terms of what people look at someone with a disability like, finding them attractive, things like that.

“That’s just my experience. I’m not saying that everyone’s experience is the same, but I’ve had a lot of people [telling me] that they find it hard to date with a disability. People have this negative opinion towards finding them attractive.

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Paddy with his sisters Tanya and Val

Paddy with his sisters Tanya and Val

Paddy with his sisters Tanya and Val

“I think letting them be represented in mainstream media is a great thing and that’s why I do shows like this.”

On Wednesday night, viewers will get to see Paddy hand over his phone to his siblings, where they get the chance to go through his profile on dating apps like Tinder and Grindr.

The Dubliner admitted that he was “absolutely terrified” to let his sisters see his messages.

He shared: “So many parts were awkward like texts I’d send when I’m a bit tipsy or messages I’ve received and they’re looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes. I was like, ‘Oh my god, please let the ground swallow me up!’

“They did see a picture of my hoop which was quite terrifying. It was quite tasteful though.

“When you’re put under the microscope like that, you forget what kind of messages you send and how cringy you can be.”

Despite the awkwardness, Paddy said that he loved sharing the experience with Tanya and Val.

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“It’s great to get my family together after the pandemic and have a bit of fun with them,” he said.

“They’re my older siblings as well so they’re always giving me load of grief about settling down and getting my life in order. So I was like, ‘Go on then, I’ll put it in your hands!’

“It’s like the blind leading the blind. It’s ironic. They’re not even married themselves.

“It was just fun to do something that we’ll always have a memory of and will always be our thing.

“We’ll definitely watch [the episode] together in my sister’s house. We’ll have to have a little tipple to calm the nerves and see how it goes.”

Watch Paddy on Celebrity Pulling with My Parents this Wednesday at 9.30pm on RTÉ2.

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