A devastated father has called for an end to the Neknomination craze that has swept Ireland and caused two deaths in the last week.
Joe Byrne made the plea after the body of his 19-year-old son Jonny was recovered from the river Barrow in Carlow.
The Irish Times reports that the teenager took part in the online dare on Saturday and died soon afterwards.
The harsh realities to the online drink phenomenon has being voiced across social media platforms, with authorities urging people to stop sharing the video content online.
Jonny’s brother Patrick put up a message on his facebook page saying ‘Stop Neknominations Before It’s Too Late’. The family have urged young people in Ireland and across the world to think about their actions before picking up the bottle and participating in the now deadly game.
Less than 24 hours before Jonny’s death, an aspiring Irish DJ Ross Cummins was found dead by his house mates in Dublin. He was also suspected to have participated in the sickening online drinking craze. The young Irishman is believed to have consumed a large volume of whiskey prior to his death.
Sources said: “The young man was found unconscious in a house on Macken Street in the early hours of the morning.
“It is believed his body was discovered was just a few minutes’ walk from his family home. Emergency services were called at around 5.30am and gardai were alerted.” The young man from Ringsend posted a video on his Facebook page just over a week ago where he is seen participating in NekNomination.
The drinking game is a social media craze that involves people being nominated to ‘down’ alcoholic drinks such as vodka and whiskey in one sitting and then post the video online. They then must nominate another person via the internet to do the same thing.
The online trend is thought to have originated in Australia with an intention of connecting people across the world.
Suzanne Costello of Alcohol Action Ireland said: "The online nature of the challenges mean the peer pressure aspect of it has far greater reach than traditional drinking games would have had.
"It's picking up a momentum. There is a time pressure on it, you have to respond to the challenge within 24 hours.
"People are trying to give the image they are continuously partying, up for challenges and having a great time."Binge drinking is normalised and in this trend, celebrated."
She added in an interview with RTE Radio One: "It can be very difficult in Ireland, because heavy drinking is so normalised, for us to see the wood from the trees.
"We do consistently drink over 2.7 litres of pure alcohol per year more than anyone else in Europe."
The concept of the game has been described by a user on Facebook as: "Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don’t break the chain, don’t be a d***. The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsibly".
The hashtag 'neknominate' started trending in January 2013 and has since been growing in popularity around the world, however it seems to have recently found a large following among young males in Australia.
Authorities in Ireland have urged people to stop participating in the deadly online game. In a sickening display of ignorance the administators behind the facebook page posted the following update on their page on Sunday evening.
“Got a lot of people moaning about the page. Yeah I know two have died but seriously people need to know their limits. This games just a bit of fun. People die from skydiving and crazy stunts etc but you don't hear people wanting that banned.”
Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald has condemned the activity.
She said: “This is a highly dangerous and potentially lethal phenomenon, where an inappropriate peer pressure element adds to the risks.
“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.”
Some 'Neknominations' nominees have put a spin to the online drink culture which has been created. They have taken it upon themselevs to do something good within their community with the nomination.
Check out how one South African man decided to change his neknomiantion into something positive.