Neknominate blamed for young Irishmen's deaths

A young Irishman has pleaded for a halt to online drinking game Neknominate after his brother became one of two people in that country whose deaths have been linked to the game.

The body of Jonny Byrne, 19, was found in a river in County Carlow, Ireland, on Sunday morning, after he reportedly jumped in after taking part in Neknominate on Saturday night.

The game, which may have originated in Australia, involves participants skolling or "necking" alcohol while being filmed, and then nominating a friend to do the same.

Video footage of the dares often involves outlandish stunts and costumes.

Mr Byrne's brother, Patrick "Stretch" Byrne, called on people to stop playing the game.

"Everyone across the world please like and share," he wrote in a Facebook post.

"This neck nomination shit HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW my young 19 year old brother Jonny Byrne from Carlow died tonight in the middle of his nomination. He thought he had to try and beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river. After 5 hours of searching he is still not found. If people have any decency and respect they will refrain from any more of this stupid neck nomination shit."

In January, drug and alcohol experts warned the game could be deadly. The head of the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW, Michael Farrell, said people involved in similar drinking games in US colleges had died.

"Every year there are a number of men and women who die from alcohol poisoning as a result of that, and that is one of the main concerns here," he said.

"In general it looks like it could get people into a lot of trouble, with a lot of pressure to drink. It's competitive, heavy drinking, and that tends to end up with people coming to serious grief through alcohol poisoning."

He said drunk people were also more likely to die or be seriously injured during stunts.

A day before Mr Byrne's body was found, Ross Cummins, 22, a Dublin DJ, died after a night of heavy drinking.

Mr Cummins was found unconscious in the early hours of Saturday morning in a house in the centre of Dublin.

He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, and Irish media are reporting his death is also linked to the game.

He had been filmed participating in Neknominate in a video posted to his Facebook page a week ago, the Irish Mirror website said.

The story Neknominate blamed for young Irishmen's deaths first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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