Irish sites shut after outcry on binge drinking

 Jonny Byrne

A number of Irish ‘neknominate’ pages have been shut down in the wake of the death of Carlow teenager Johnny Byrne.

The body of the talented hurler, who was 19, was taken from the River Barrow on Sunday morning. He had posted a video of himself drinking a pint shortly before he entered the river on Saturday night.

As a result of a backlash against the internet craze, a number of Irish neknomination pages were taken down from Facebook yesterday.

These included a NI Neknomination page based in the North, which was changed to an alcohol awareness page, and a Sligo Neknomination page based out of Sligo Institute of Technology.

Yesterday morning, the Sligo page had almost 2,000 likes and contained a large selection of videos of the game in which people are encouraged to drink a pint of alcohol as fast as possible before nominating someone else to do the same with 24 hours.

Some of the comments included numerous people encouraging the activity, with comments like: “How to drink beer like a boss!” and one video being labelled as “the best neck nomination we have seen so far” before asking: “Who has the balls to beat this in Sligo?”

Although the page was removed yesterday afternoon, a Neknominate Ireland page was still live with over 2,000 likes yesterday. However, numerous posters on the site were critical, with one user stating he had reported the page to Facebook.

In response to the neknomination pages, Facebook users around the world, including Ireland, have taken to promoting a more positive idea called ‘RAKnomination,’ where people carry out a ‘random act of kindness’ before encouraging friends to do the same.

For example, Jessica Supple from Dublin posted a video of her offering to pay for a stranger’s weekly shopping in a Loughlinstown supermarket.

Kate Feeney, president of Ógra Fianna Fáil, also urged young people to donate a pint of blood instead of risking their health by participating in neknominating.

“We are calling on young people to think twice before participating in this latest online craze, and to donate a pint of blood instead of necking a pint of alcohol,” said Ms Feeney. “It has become clear that this game has spiralled out of control. More and more young people are risking their own safety to outdo each other with increasingly outrageous scenarios.

“This game only serves to normalise binge drinking and reinforce the dangerous message that young people need to get drunk to enjoy themselves.”


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