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Dublin: 0 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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Gardaí investigating social media shooting threats made against two schools

The schools in question are located in Limerick and Galway.

Image: Brian Lawless via PA Images

GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING social media shooting threats made against two schools in Limerick and Galway.

The latest threat is alleged to have been made to St Raphael’s College in Loughrea, Co Galway, reported the Irish Daily Mirror.

A garda spokesperson confirmed in a statement: “Gardaí are investigating online threats made towards an educational institution in the Loughrea area that occurred on 17/10/19 at approximately 7.30pm.”

Several patrols of the area have taken place today. Nothing suspicious detected, according to gardaí. 

“Investigations are continuing,” the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the rural community of Hospital, Co Limerick is still reeling from the shock of threats the local community school John The Baptist, would be shot.

The US style gun threat, “I am going to shoot up John the Baptist (community school in Hospital)”, was issued last Friday via the anonymous messaging app Tellonym.

The school was notified after a student took a screenshot of the threat and alerted a parent who in turn alerted school authorities.

Armed gardaí were deployed to the area as a precaution.

Bruff-based Garda Superintendent John Ryan confirmed tonight that gardaí had contacted Tellonym seeking information they hope might lead them to those behind the threatening message.

“We sent a request to the providers but we don’t yet know if they have the facility to capture it. It’s very difficult, as it’s anonymous, and trying to trace the origin is really difficult, but we will investigate it,” Superintendent Ryan said.

A garda spokesperson added: “Gardaí have been liaising closely with the senior management of a school in Limerick last Friday, 11th October 2019, following reports concerning the school appearing on social media.”

“No offence disclosed.”

Superintendent Ryan, in an interview with the Limerick Leader, stated: “We are quite happy that there is no substance to it. There have been a few of these throughout the country over the last couple of months on the same app.

“It is open source. It could be anyone, literally. It is open to anybody to access it.”

He appealed for people “to let us know if they come across anything of this nature”.

“We would also ask parents to be mindful of what type of apps their children are downloading on their phone. Our community gardaí carry out regular schools visits and talk to students about using apps and social media,” he said.

He also urged teenagers to “think before you type” … “no matter what you are putting up on social media, think twice and be cautious”.

“The garda website also has some good advice on this topic,” Superintendent Ryan added.

Principal of John the Baptist Community School, Noreen Rafferty, said it highlighted the importance of education around the dangers that lurk on social media.

“All parents and students should be aware of the potential consequences of what is posted online. We want to emphasise the vital role parents play in monitoring and educating their children on the use of social media,” Rafferty said.

She also thanked gardaí for their “supportive response” to the incident.

The Tellonym mobile phone app states it allows users “to receive anonymous and honest feedback from everyone who is important to you”.

Gardaí have contacted the app makers about the threat made against the Limerick school.

In a statement to the Leader, Tellonym founder and chief executive Maximilian Rellin said: “We are taking the safety of our users very seriously and have many policies and features in place to fight inappropriate content, including such threats.

“We already established contact with the local police department and provided all available data about the sender of that threat.”

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David Raleigh

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