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When drinking games go too far: #NekNomination death

Alcohol UnitsA Northern Ireland-based social media page sharing videos of an Internet drinking game is to be discontinued after the death of an Irish teenager.

Jonny Byrne, who was 19 and from County Carlow, died after jumping into the River Barrow in Carlow on Saturday.

His family said he had been playing the game known as ‘NekNomination’, in which people are encouraged to drink alcohol before posting a video online.

An NI NeKNomination Facebook page is to become an alcohol awareness page.

It follows an emotional appeal by the teenager’s family and warnings from politicians on both sides of the Irish border about the dangers of taking part in the drinking game.

The teenager’s father, Joe Byrne, told Irish state broadcaster RTÉ: “I’m pleading to every youngster to think of the things they’re doing.

“It has cost my son his life. The whole family is devastated and our lives will never be the same again.

“I hope this message is heeded because for us, life is virtually over,” Mr Byrne said.

The Northern Ireland NekNomination page on Facebook was set up last Tuesday to “showcase” videos of the drinking game in Northern Ireland.

More than 10,000 Facebook users ‘liked’ or indicated their support for the page in less than a week.

However, on Monday, those behind it said it would be discontinued and run instead as an alcohol awareness page on the social networking site.

A spokesperson involved in creating the page told the BBC: “We made the decision a few nights ago to no longer continue to run the page the way it was originally set up.

“All videos have been removed and we’d like to continue as a NekNomination awareness page, highlighting the dangers surrounding the game.”

It is believed that NekNomination began in Australia, and has spread to the UK and Ireland.

Will Johnston, Warwickshire County Council’s Joint Commissioning Manager for Adult & Young Person’s Substance Misuse said:

“With the growing popularity of ‘NekNomination’ videos, we urge everyone to be responsible and safe when drinking alcohol and to consider the consequences of their actions for themselves and others.”

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