Teenagers are being warned about the dangers of social media after hundreds of young people crashed a house-party in Kildare this week.
Over 200 people turned up at the house in Leixlip on Monday after a 17-year-old girl used Snapchat to invite her friends over
Somebody then took a screenshot of the invite and shared it online where it went viral.
Scenes in Leixlip this evening.
Really disappointing to see this.
I used to be invited to all the gaff parties back in the day. pic.twitter.com/znZ6ZDUJ9H
— Craig Fitzpatrick (@CraigySlane) July 6, 2020
Her father Kevin said he was away for the night and things spiralled out of control.
“My daughter asked could she have five or six friends over,” he said. “I said yeah, no problem at all.”
“But of course, a teenager being a teenager, she thought she would pull a sneaky one and invited 15 or 20 of her friends.
“So, she made a custom story or a private story or something on Snapchat and she put these people on it – a little invite with all their names on it. We’ve all done stuff like that as teenagers.
“Someone screenshotted it and […] the invitation was cropped to take the names out and then it just went viral. People turned up from everywhere.
“I mean there could have been 200 people turned up. Luckily, they didn’t get into the house, the house wasn’t destroyed. There was nothing broken, nothing stolen so it was just broken up on time.
"Bodies all over the place"
Gardaí say they were called to the scene at around 7pm in the evening and three teenagers were arrested for public order offences.
They told Kevin that similar scenes happen “a lot more often than you think.”
“One of the people that was arrested actually had their house destroyed three months previously,” he said. “That's the mentality.
“They were coming from everywhere. The garda told me they were from Blanchardstown, Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Lucan, Maynooth, Celbridge, everywhere – they were getting taxis to come over. There were bodies all over the place.”
He said the story is more about the “naivety of teenagers on social media” than anything else.
“Once something goes up on social media, anybody can screenshot it, anyone can share it and, as you can see from Monday, it can go viral,” he said.
“Thankfully it was stopped before it started.”
Infectious disease expert Professor Sam McConkey said young people need to realise we are far from out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19.
“We are seeing a small number of young people getting very, very sick with this – and that is very shocking and sad and their whole life and existence is threatened by that,” he said.
“Secondly, they also run the risk of transmitting it to older people who they live with and it leads to a bigger problem in Ireland for older and vulnerable people.
“Thirdly, if there is a lot of virus transmitting in Ireland and the rates are rising, we are going to end up going backwards in our phases. Instead of going into Phase three and Phase Four we will end up going back in Phase Zero and Phase One and that is not a position any of us want to be in.”
He said it is essential that we all “stick with the message” as restrictions are eased.