The boy, understood to be around 12 years old, was walking near the Castlegar GAA grounds, on the outskirts of Galway City, when two other boys began to film him.

They ordered the youngster to start dancing so they could record him, but when the boy refused, he was shot and injured with a high-powered pellet gun.

Security sources say the two boys who orchestrated the assault will face "repercussions" and that gardaí are in the process of speaking to them.

"It seems to be that these two young lads knew the other guy and were taunting him and bullying him basically, telling him to dance," said a source.

"They were just trying to take the pi** out of the young lad and were going to put it online. But to be fair to the young lad, he didn’t do it and didn’t back down so the other two lads took it upon themselves to shoot him with the pellet gun.

"This is a high-powered thing and can break the skin. Garda [police] want to speak to these two lads and there will be repercussions for them as well."

The source said Tánaiste Micheál Martin visited the GAA club last month, adding: "It really is the heartbeat of the area so you’ve a lot of people who are very angry that something like this could happen there."

Gardaí are investigating and taking the incident seriously, according to local Councilor Alan Cheevers, who said the proliferation of pellet guns in Ireland requires new legislation.

"It’s very concerning to have young people going around with something like that – I would have deep concerns about their use across the country," he said.

"It’s something that I’ll be bringing up through these new joint policing committees. We’re going to have to look at these pellet guns and look at bringing in some form of legislation about them.

"This was in no way to do with the GAA club itself and it’s a very serious concern for the club to have something like this happen around its grounds. The club is fantastic and is so welcoming and does great work for the community so it’s a shame for something like this to happen.’

Gardaí were asked for comment.

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