An attack on a teenager in Navan, Co Meath has been strongly condemned, in addition to the sharing of a video of the attack online.
Independent Meath County Councillor Nick Killian said people were shocked by the incident which happened at around 2.30pm on Monday afternoon.
“People are just appalled, really shocked by it, that young people could do that to each other,” Cllr Killian said.
“These are school students. We all know that student can have rows from time to time, but this was more than just hitting the student.
“That young man could have been seriously hurt and seriously injured and left with life-threatening injuries, and people have to realise that that type of behaviour is just unacceptable,” he added.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney, who is the Seanad’s spokesperson on children, described the attack as “horrific”.
“We saw a defenceless young person being kicked and punched on the ground, and I think the image of him crawling away is going to be forever etched on a lot of our minds.”
Ms Seery Kearney also took issue with those who filmed the incident, “which perpetuates the humiliation of that young man” and “dehumanises and amplifies the violence”, while also condemning bystanders who did not attempt to assist the victim.
“Nobody came to his rescue. The bystanders actually got involved and went in for attack in the same way,” she added.
The footage of the attack was widely shared online, with Ms Seery Kearney criticising that social media platforms “benefit from the amplification of this really strongly”.
“I think that that’s where the Digital Services Act is going to be very helpful and instrumental…The fact is that social media platforms under the Digital Services Act are going to be obliged to explain their algorithms.”
“The Digital Services Act will be a regulation change in harmonizing community rules, harmonizing transparency amongst social media platforms.
“I think that will be very, very important because at the heart of this is a human being, and unfortunately lots of studies demonstrate that social media, the exposure to violence, the exposure to video games that are violent, dehumanises the experience of that real life person all rise,” she added.