NEWS

Paedophile hunters group now recruiting in Donegal

Online campaign already prompting plenty of reaction

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

Email:

editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Paedophile hunters group now recruiting in Donegal

A group of so-called paedophile hunters has set up in the north west and is recruiting people in Donegal and other counties.
North West Paedophile Hunter appeared on Facebook last month and has more than 1,200 followers online.
The group says it is “actively against all forms of child abuse including online abuse”.
Announcing its presence the group said: “We are now watching in the North West of Ireland.”
The group posted recently that it is now recruiting in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon.
“Because of workload, we are now recruiting decoys and also people to do security. Please share throughout Donegal, Sligo Leitrim, Roscommon and Mayo for the protection of children online,” the group said in an online post.
Messages of support for the group have been posted online.
The group declined to comment when connected by the Donegal Democrat/Donegal People’s Press.
Such groups are receiving growing media attention. Last December RTÉ producer Kieran Creaven was intercepted at Leeds Airport in the UK by the vigilante group Predator Exposure which alleged it had used a fake Facebook account to draw his attention.
Creaven pleaded guilty to sex offences at Leeds Crown Court and was jailed earlier this month to 18 months in prison.
Just last week a court was told that paedophile-hunting groups in Northern Ireland have halted their activities.
A judge was told they ceased within the past week in the face of police investigations into their operations.
Gardaí say the actions by such groups are a cause of concern for police services.
“The activity engaged in and the manner of confrontation between such groups and their targets has the potential for violence and could result in harm to persons present,” the Gardaí said in a statement.
“In addition, there are also concerns over the legality of the actions of such groups operating in Ireland.
“Finally, the manner in which such groups operate and how they interact with their chosen targets prior to and during the arranged meeting has the potential to affect future criminal proceedings.
“It is An Garda Síochána's primary role to investigate crime and enforce enacted legislation.
“An Garda Síochána would urge anyone with information relating to the potential sexual exploitation of children to report it immediately to An Garda Síochána where it will be investigated by professional investigators.
"Our priority at all times is the safety of children, and to use all lawful means to fully investigate and prosecute crimes which jeopardise the safety of a child,” the statement concluded.