Waterford parents warned after reports emerge of teenagers coughing on elderly people in TikTok challenge
Young people in Waterford who cough or spit at elderly people as part of the so-called TikTok Covid-19 challenge are breaking the law, a TD has warned.
Parents also need to ensure their children behave themselves at all times, Fianna Fáil’s James Lawless has said, after unconfirmed reports emerged in recent days that two teenagers in Bray, Co Wicklow, wearing masks and gloves approached an elderly gentleman with special needs at a bus stop and coughed all over him before walking away laughing.
Other reports circulating on Whatsapp claim that 10-15 youths also engaged in similar behaviour in the town on Monday night.
Mr Lawless, who is a barrister, has said that people need to be reminded that it is a serious offence to cause another person to believe that they have become infected with a disease.
The ‘corona challenge’ allegedly sees young people film themselves coughing into people’s faces and posting a video of the incident on TikTok.
“This really is too serious to be explained away with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude,” said Mr Lawless.
Earlier this week, Dublin Live reported that gardai were investigating after a young person repeatedly coughed in the faces of an elderly couple who were out walking on Sallins Road in Kildare which is in Mr Lawless’ constituency.
“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 six of the non-fatal offences against the person act 1997 it is an offence to spray, pour or put onto 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 one of the act makes specific reference to contaminated fluid and section two covers the intentional or reckless application of force in liquid form.”
Mr Lawless has urged parents to ensure their children behave properly at this time.
“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. It’s time for parents to step up, they need to make sure their children are aware of the consequences of their actions.”
In another incident, a woman was allegedly shopping in a south Dublin supermarket when a man approached her, made a comment about her wearing a face mask and the coughed in her face.