Second death linked to online drinking activity

Hurler’s body removed from River Barrow this morning

The body of young hurler Jonny Byrne from Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow was taken from the River Barrow this morning.

The body of young hurler Jonny Byrne from Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow was taken from the River Barrow this morning.

 

The body of young hurler Jonny Byrne from Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow was taken from the River Barrow this morning.

The alert was raised at about 8pm yesterday when the 19-year-old was seen going into the river near Milford Bridge. Rescue teams found his body before 11am today.

He was a well-known hurler and footballer and was a member of the Naomh Bríd Hurling Club and Leighlinbridge GFC.

His brother Patrick Byrne posted a message on his Facebook page late last night, linking his death with a social media drinking craze known as ‘neknomination.’

It involves people filming themselves drinking large quantities of alcohol, mainly spirits, posting the video online and then nominating someone else to do the same.

Patrick Byrne posted that his brother died after doing his “nomination” and urged that people stop taking part in the activity.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald today condemned the craze saying it was evidence of society’s broader need to address the binge drinking culture.

“This is not a game. It is a highly dangerous - potentially lethal - phenomenon, where an inappropriate peer pressure element adds to the risks,” she said.

“Above all, it represents further evidence that we still have a long way to go in denormalising binge drinking among Irish youth. Young people take their cues from our broader society’s general attitude to drinking, and the popularity of neknominations shows we still have a long way to go in developing a healthy societal attitude to the consumption of alcohol.”

“Rather than focus solely on the symptoms, we must work together to tackle the cause, and I echo the very sensible calls by Irish youth organisations and alcohol awareness groups to find effective ways to change our alcohol consumption patterns,” she added.

This is the second death thought to be linked to the activity in recent days. Dublin DJ Ross Cummins (22) was found dead in a house in Macken Street, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Gardaí in Pearse Street are investigating the incident but a Garda spokesman said it was not believed to be suspicious.

The spokesman said he could not comment on suggestions that either death was linked to the drinking activity.