Speaking after an all-island meeting with Sinn Fein MLA and Spokesperson on Women's Issues Megan Fearon and the NIYF (Northern Ireland Youth Forum) in Belfast this afternoon, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly said that the Facebook Neknomination craze was a symptom of a wider cultural issue; alcohol abuse; and that point should not be lost in the backlash to the craze.
She said: “Anyone who has graced social media websites of late will more than likely have seen friends posting videos of themselves chugging a drink at speed and being recorded, then tagging some of their friends to take up the challenge within 24 hours. Drink, Record, Dare.
“The craze is believed to have originated in Australia but it is fast sweeping the world and now Facebook news feeds in Ireland are being inundated with these videos and dares.
“The internet is a wonderful thing. And the speeds at which such videos and activities can go viral mean that there is so much potential to do good as well as simply upload videos of people sinking pints. The two recent tragic losses of lives should not have happened. It's a horrible twist of fate for both young men and their families to something that at first glance would appear to be a frivolous game.
“In the backlash to the craze, it's essential we be honest with ourselves about another real issue here; Ireland's long standing relationship with alcohol. The ups and downs of that relationship and the consequences we often chose to ignore. As cited by SpunOut already:
•Every seven hours, someone in Ireland dies from an alcohol-related illness
•Every night, 2,000 hospitals beds are occupied for alcohol related reasons
•One in four deaths of young men aged 15-39 in Ireland is due to alcohol
•One in three road crash deaths is alcohol-related
“Irish society must rethink its relationship with alcohol. The neck nomination craze is a symptom of a wider cultural issue.”