A Fianna Fáil councillor for Limerick, Cllr Cathal Crowe, has lodged a formal complaint with the gardaí following the emergence of a series of Snapchat videos depicting Limerick teenagers fighting one another with the explicit intention of the fights being shared on social media.
The videos, shared over Snapchat on a channel called 'Irish Drillting Snapchat', depict Limerick teenagers engaging in incredibly violent activity throughout the city with notable landmarks being distinguishable in the background and the crests of local schools being identifiable on the uniforms of several of those involved in the videos.
The videos of these 'fight clubs' - as Cllr Cathal Crowe has labelled them - show both arranged fights between children as well as teenagers attacking unsuspecting victims for the purposes of having their violent actions filmed and disseminated through this Snapchat account.
Aside from their being one-on-one, pre-orchestrated fights filmed and uploaded to the account, perhaps more worrying, are the number of videos showing unsuspecting teenagers who are targeted randomly and viciously attacked by individuals or groups. In both situations there are often groups of other children and teenagers present goading on proceedings and helping to create a cruel mob mentality, escalating the violence.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Cllr Cathal Crowe said that he first became aware of the account on Friday after a number of parents of children involved in the videos got in touch with him. On Sunday evening he expressed his concerns to the gardaí and reported the channel to them.
He said that one of the videos of a random attack that he saw involved a teenager that he knew personally. Describing the incident Cllr Crowe said that the teenager was "walking along a footpath in Limerick city, and out comes a guy who starts pummeling him with punches."
Cllr Crowe acknowledged that, given the nature of Snapchat, it would be incredibly difficult for gardaí to conduct investigations with videos disappearing from the service after 24 hours.
He has called for parents in the area to be vigilant and hopes that it can be shut down and this behaviour stamped out before long.
He called for there to be tough penalties and deterrents in place to dissuade people from sharing sensitive material on social media. This comes after, last week, images of a fatal crash on the M50 were shared before even the family of the victim had been notified.
H/T: The Irish Times