Limerick city children ‘pummelling’ each other in filmed ‘fight clubs’
Snapchat group reported to gardaí by councillor who saw ‘grotesque’ videos
Cllr Cathal Crowe said: “I got phone calls Friday and Saturday from a few parents in my own locality to say that their sons were on this Snapchat group.” Photograph: Getty Images
Videos of “fight clubs” involving children, believed to be as a young as 12, have been shared on Snapchat, according to a Fianna Fáil councillor.
Cllr Cathal Crowe has made a formal complaint to gardaí about the videos, which he said were filmed in Limerick city and showed teenagers and younger children “pummelling” each other in organised fights.
A number of Limerick landmarks, and local school uniforms, are clearly visible in the videos.
He said the videos on the social media platform also showed unsuspecting victims being targeted.
“I got phone calls Friday and Saturday from a few parents in my own locality to say that their sons were on this Snapchat group...Everyday more fight videos are uploaded,” he said.
Cllr Crowe, who is based in Parteen, in south east Clare, said he reported the “Irish Drillting Snapchat” group to gardaí on Sunday night after having viewed the “disgusting” videos shared among members of the group.
“Some of the videos are one-on-one [FIGHTS]and they involve a group of children and bystanders in a huddle cheering them on and goading [those involved] to ‘kick’ and ‘hit’ each other.
“There [ARE]no blurred faces and the people are identifiable in all the videos.”
He said other videos are “far more sinister” and described them as “basically random attack videos”.
One of the random victims was a “teenager I know personally”, he said.
“He was walking along a footpath in Limerick city, and out comes a guy who starts pummelling him with punches,”Cllr Crowe said.
He said probably the worst video he saw involved a child “probably no more than 14 years of age” who is attacked by another youth. The attacker “starts punching his head and kneeing him into the head and jumping on him”.
“From what I’ve seen, the video content stays live for 24 hours and it gets replaced by other content, which is going to make the work for the gardaí very difficult,” Cllr Crowe said.
“It’s a grotesque form of ‘entertainment’ and a lot of teenage boys around the city are in this group.
“Apart from the “huge physical pain” of “a child being thumped and kicked”, Cllr Crowe said, “for a 14 or 15 year old boy to have this videoed, and the humiliation of it, and its been shared across social media, is very worrying and disturbing.
“I’m a school teacher and a parent and I found it very upsetting. I saw everything from kids as young as 12 or 13 fighting.”
He added: “ I saw unprovoked attacks and I saw an awful video of a girl sitting quietly on a bus, what I presume was a school bus, and another girl came several feet from behind and started to pull her hair and slap her.”
Unsuspecting victims are seen “happily” going about their business “and the next thing they’re having their heads punched”, he added.
“I know a few years ago there was a phenomenon called ‘Happy Slappy’, but this is a lot worse; This is full on pummelling.”
He said those involved were also engaged in distributing “content of other fights from around the world” via the social media group.
“It’s very worrying and disturbing, and all we can do is ensure that this is shut down and to create awareness among parents.”
Highlighting the filming and sharing on social media, the aftermath of a fatal crash along the M50 last week, Cllr Crowe added his voice to others who have called for tough penalties to be introduced for those who share sensitive material online.
Gardaí have been contacted for comment.