Offensive comments posted on Facebook about the tragic deaths of two schoolchildren are to be investigated by police.
The remarks, which have been described by detectives as “grossly offensive”, appeared online after the deaths of Ciara Doherty and Martin Rooney in west Belfast.
Eleven-year-old Ciara and Martin (13), who lived in neighbouring housing estates, were found dead within 24 hours of each other.
Martin, who was from Twinbrook, took his own life the day before Ciara, from Mount Eagles, was found dead in the bathroom of her home. However, sick comments appearing online over the past week have made direct reference to both children’s deaths.
The Belfast Telegraph has chosen not to publish any details of the offensive remarks.
Using its own Facebook site, the PSNI confirmed it was investigating the comments and was working to identify those responsible. SDLP councillor Brian Heading said he is appalled by the remarks.
“Two children have died and their families, along with the community, need to be allowed time to grieve and come to terms with their loss without these disgraceful remarks,” he said.
“I would urge Facebook to do all it can to identify the perpetrators and block them from posting any more comments.”
At Ciara’s funeral last week parish priest Fr John Forsythe had warned young people about the dangers of social networking, emphasising the importance of “authentic friends”.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Police would warn those engaged in this behaviour that the material they have posted online may be an offence under Section 127 of the Telecommunications Act 2003.
“Police take this issue seriously and will work to not only establish any offences committed, but also to identity those responsible.”