Gardaí investigate 'Slane girl' images

Published Tuesday, 20 August 2013
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As gardaí investigate the situation involving a teenage girl caught on camera performing sex acts at a gig at Slane, a child protection teacher is warning that sharing such images is a criminal offence.

Gardaí investigate 'Slane girl' images
Gardaí are investigating the situation involving a teenage girl at Slane. (© Pacemaker)

The pictures went viral after being posted on social networking sites, causing them to even trend around the world on Twitter.

But it has since emerged that the girl is understood to be just 17 and, according to reports, she has been so distressed by the online images that she has had to be sedated in hospital.

Her family are also said to be distraught.

Armagh broadcaster and teacher Jarlath Burns told UTV that, due to his involvement in child protection issues in the school where he works, he has seen the impact such situations can have.

"You see first-hand the devastation and isolation felt by a child - and it turns out this is a child, this girl - when they do something foolish like this and they end up being punished in a way they never could have begun to imagine," he said.

This child is a victim of social media ... Anybody who has this tagged or has retweeted this – it is a criminal offence to view it and certainly to peddle it.

Jarlath Burns, teacher

Mr Burns also said that he doesn't feel this is a particularly "new" issue - except for the implications of such ready access to cameras and a worldwide audience.

"I was at Slane when I was younger and I would have seen stuff, even 20 years ago, that - if there had been social media and everyone had a camera in their pocket - could have ended up like this," he said.

"I don't particularly believe that we have moved away into an era of decadence to the extent that people think."

The incidents caught on camera also took place in full view of gig-goers at Slane, where around 80,000 people gathered to see US rapper Eminem.

But Mr Burns sympathises with the teenager and says the episode also puts differing attitudes to men and women in the spotlight, as the girl is not the only person in the pictures - but she is bearing the brunt of the criticism.

He has also warned that there could be repercussions for those sharing the explicit images.

"It is actually an offence to view a lewd picture involving an underage child - it is a paedophilic offence," the teacher said, urging people to take down the images from websites.

The age at which someone is considered a child in terms of explicit images is not necessarily the same as the age of consent.

In Northern Ireland, the age of consent is 16, but indecent images of children relate to anyone under 18. In the Republic of Ireland, the age of consent is 17 and indecent images relate to under 17s.

It is understood that gardaí have spoken to the girl in question and her family, who are thought to be from the west of Ireland, as part of their investigations into the situation.

Reports suggest that one of the young men involved may be from Belfast.

© UTV News
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41 Comments
eddie in shankill wrote (433 days ago):
and Scotland want the age of voting brought down to 16 when you hear of things like this you wonder why,Pauline Moon do you live in a bubble as this thing happens more often than you might think....this was just i stupid mistake that has come back to hunt her,what i do think is that the person who put it on knew what the outcome was going to be so SHAME on them,hopefully the internet will move on to next hot topic and let this poor girl move on with her life as im sure many people including myself have done stupid things when young only when i was there was no internet thank god...they say everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame but what we don't know if it will be positive or negative
Iseult in NI wrote (434 days ago):
What a pity this girl hadn't been with a female friend who could have stopped her doing something so utterly stupid and degrading. There's no point in people going on about double standards as two people were involved, because there always has been - and IMO always will be - double standards where sex is concerned. Yes, those who tweeted this have acted unlawfully, but once something is on the Internet, that's it, it's there for ever. Removing it from specific social networking sites means nothing, it'll just end up doing the rounds elsewhere. If nothing else, this girl's dilemma will give a clear warning signal to other young people not to behave so shamelessly in a public place because you'll bitterly regret it in the long run.
Vee in Belfast wrote (434 days ago):
Sam 1690 and Gerry in Belfast Investigating not investing or investiagting
Dan in Belfast wrote (434 days ago):
@Realist in England Thanks for your clarification fella but i know where Dublin is. People who live in the north of Ireland call the Republic the South. But if i write again ill clearly give the exact cords of the location for you
Wayne Denner in Warrenpoint wrote (434 days ago):
This persecution of a young person by People on Social Media must stop. Think of the hurt and distress this can cause. And the far-reaching effects it can have on a young persons life & those around them.
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