Gardai have reissued a warning on the activity of vigilante groups who act as “paedophile-hunters”. It comes after the circulation of a video on social media recorded in Monaghan.
The video, which was recorded in Monaghan town, was posted by Child Protection Awareness, a facebook page which says it works in “catching sexual predators” and “bringing awareness to parents and guardians about the dangers of online grooming”.
Gardai say they cannot comment on individual or specific cases, and doesn’t discuss speculation about the specific activities of such groups.
However they say the actions by vigilante groups are a cause of concern for them and other policing services, and that 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.
In a statement to Northern Sound News, Gardai said there are also concerns over the legality of them operating in Ireland, and that the manner that meetings are operated and how they interact with targets has the potential to affect future criminal proceedings.
Gardaí are urging anyone with information relating to the potential sexual exploitation of children to report it immediately where it will be investigated by professional investigators.
They conclude by saying the safety of children is their priority at all times, and to use lawful means to fully investigate and prosecute crimes which jeopardise the safety of a child.