Fitzgerald says censorship not the answer to Neknomination

Wednesday 12 February 2014 13.32
Neknomination involves people being nominated to drink large amounts of alcohol and post a video online
Neknomination involves people being nominated to drink large amounts of alcohol and post a video online

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said she does not believe censorship is the answer following the emergence of the Neknomination internet challenge in Ireland.

Frances Fitzgerald said she has "been in touch with Facebook" on the issue.

Neknomination involves people being nominated to drink large amounts of alcohol and post a video online, challenging other people to do the same thing.

Ms Fitzgerald told the Dáil that she met various providers in the past number of months in relation to apps.

The minister said that while voluntary organisations, internet providers and suppliers have a role to play, she does not believe censorship is the answer.

She was responding to the Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Neknomination has been linked to the death of 19-year-old Carlow man Jonny Byrne, whose body was taken from the River Barrow earlier this month.

His brother Patrick later used Facebook to urge others to stop playing the game.

He said: "He thought he had to beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river. If people have any decency and respect, they will refrain from any more of this stupid Neknomination."

The Minister of State for Training and Skills has said it would be impossible to regulate or shut down communication on social media sites regarding Neknominations.

Ciaran Cannon said if the decision was made to convince Facebook to remove all references of Neknominations tomorrow, there would be no reason but to expect young people to "create their own social media opportunities".

Responding to Fine Gael's Derek Keating in the Dáil, Minister Cannon said young people needed to be educated and empowered to use social media sensibly, not to compromise friends and peers.

Mr Keating said Neknominations were a "threat to society".