A SINISTER new Snapchat group, who upload videos of its members beating up unsuspecting teenagers, has been uncovered in Limerick.
Gardaí are investigating the group after Meelick school teacher and local councillor Cathal Crowe (FF) was contacted by distressed parents.
“I joined the group to see what was going on and I was appalled. There are videos of one-on-one fights between teenagers in Limerick school uniforms. That’s bad enough but the really horrible videos are ones where innocent teenagers are attacked and viciously beaten.
“The worst one I saw was a child of about 12 engrossed in a PlayStation game when another boy came from behind and started punching him. Then when he slumped down in the chair, he was repeatedly kicked in the head.
Many of the participants are wearing LImerick school uniforms and some are wearing uniforms of schools in South Clare.
Landmarks including shops and Thomond Park, identify the group as being from the locality.
“These are vicious attacks and the blows I’ve see I would describe as knock-out blows. In every case where someone is punched they end up on the ground”.
Cllr Crowe said that, apart from the physical hurt these attacks cause, “there is the shame and humiliation for the victim of having it posted on social media and it being seen by hundreds of their peers because there are several hundred in this group.
The ones I have seen on-screen are aged between about 12 and 15.
Some of the unprovoked attacks happen as teens are coming out of youth clubs and discos.
Cllr Crowe was himself the victim of an unprovoked attack in the city in his first year in college, he told the Limerick Post.
“I had to lick my physical wounds after that and it was terrible but I can’t imagine how I would feel if the whole thing had been filmed and put on social media. As a teacher and a parent, I’m very concerned about the psychological effects of that”.
Cllr Crowe confirmed that he made an official complaint to the Gardaí.
“I was told that a number of parents have also made complaints and the Gardaí are investigating. Most of the people who feature in these videos make no effort at all to hide their identities. One of their victims was a lad I know”.
He said hat while the page could be closed down and the group disbanded, this is not the answer to the problem.
“It would be easy to set another page up under another name. We need legislation to control this kind of activity and that’s what I’ll be pushing for,” he declared.
The Limerick Post is withholding the name of the group so as not to promote further violence.