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Taoiseach to contact victim's family as Dáil reacts to 'stomach-churning' Navan teen assault video

Education Minister Norma Foley said that the video was “nothing short of shocking and appaling”.

LAST UPDATE | 18 May 2023

THERE HAS BEEN widespread condemnation of an attack on a young teen boy in Navan, with calls for social media companies to remove videos of the incident that circulated yesterday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he was appalled at the attack and that he would be reaching out to the family of the teenager, while Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that it was “stomach churning”.

Martin said that both the Oireachtas and the country at large are “sickened and disturbed” by it, and sympathising with the victim and his family. 

“I hope all the resources he needs to recover are made available,” he added. 

This afternoon the Taoiseach also condemned the attack, saying, “It seems to me that a young man was was targeted, essentially because he’s different and was subjected to a very violent assault. And what’s worse still is people felt the need to video it and then put it online.”

A group of boys were involved in the attack on one of their peers. 

The victim of the assault was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda on Monday afternoon to receive treatment for serious facial injuries. 

Opening Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said as the parent of four boys, he was “disgusted and sickened to the core” to see a young person be attacked in this way. 

He said that it is “every parent’s nightmare” for their child to be targeted in this way, or for their child to be involved in such an attack. 

Doherty added that there is a worrying trend of attacks being “orchestrated” to create content to be shared on social media platforms, and that it is posing a danger to young people. 

Micheál Martin when the office of the newly appointed Online Safety Commissioner will be able to tackle “individual complaints”, and play an active role in seeing videos of attacks online taken down. 

Martin said that he could not provide a “timeline” of the office’s progress today, but that work is being done in this area. 

He added that social media companies already have “an obligation” to remove harmful content, and that the Government’s has repeatedly engaged with them about this duty. 

“They say they are doing it, but the rapidity with which it is being done has to be questioned,” he added. 

Doherty said that it is “not acceptable” that the video of the attack is still being allowed to be shared on social media platforms. 

Labour leader Ivana Bacik said that the attack was “appalling”, and also offered her sympathy to the victim and his family. 

Taoiseach to reach out to victim’s family 

Speaking from a parish hall on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin city, the Taoiseach said that he plans to reach out to the family of the boy who was attacked. 

Varadkar said that the parent’s of the young people who carried out the attack carry “responsibility” for what has happened as well. 

“Those young people are easily identified, those parents know who they are, and they need to act and take responsibility for this as well,” he said. 

“It takes a particular type of person to post pictures and videos of people with the purpose of humiliating them, a particularly nasty type of individual does that type of thing.

“And then to see bystanders, not only not trying to help, but actually joining in so it was particularly hard to watch,” Varadkar added. 

Education Minister Norma Foley said that the incident in Navan was “not a reflection” of who young people are.

“I think it is nothing short of shocking and appalling. This should never have happened,” Foley said.

“I meet with young people all the time. I spent many, many years working with them. This is not a reflection of who they are. This is not who we are in this country.”

Additional reporting by Tadgh McNally

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