A Fianna Fail TD (MP) has called for legal action to be taken against people joking about having coronavirus while deliberately coughing into others’ faces.
Kildare North TD James Lawless said “thugs” are taking videos of themselves coughing into people’s faces and posting them online as part of the so-called Corona Challenge.
The party’s spokesperson on science, technology, research and development said it is a serious offence to cause another person to believe they have become infected with a disease.
Lawless, a barrister by profession, said he has been made aware of teenagers and young people deliberately coughing into the faces of others and spitting at them in a bid to intimidate and frighten them.
The Corona Challenge involves young people filming themselves while coughing into others’ faces and posting it on social media app TikTok.
Lawless said: “This really is too serious to be explained away with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude.
“People are desperately frightened of these thugs who are laughing and jeering about having Covid-19 while coughing directly into people’s faces – it’s disgusting.
“There are grounds for this in the statute books. Under Section 6 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against The Person Act 1997, it is an offence to spray, pour or put on to a person blood or any fluid or substance resembling blood, leading a person to believe that they have become infected with disease as a result.
“Section 1 of the Act makes specific reference to contaminated fluid and Section 2 covers the intentional or reckless application of force in liquid form.
“In the midst of this crisis it’s unfortunate that we would even need to remind young people that by carrying out these reprehensible acts they could actually be convicted of a very serious crime.”
He added: “It’s time for parents to step up, they need to make sure their children are aware of the consequences of their actions.”
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?