Monday 20 January 2020

'I found it massively distressing' - Young woman horrified after teens throw eel into swimming pool

Teacher Katie O'Connell spotted endangered creature in popular outdoor pool

Katie O'Connell spotted the eel in the Cork swimming pool

Cathal McMahon

A young woman has spoken of her horror after a group of teenage boys were filmed abusing an eel before throwing it into a pool full of swimmers.

The disturbing footage was captured in Co Cork and it shows the youngsters walking alongside a river in the the city as one of them holds what appears to be a European eel.

One member of the group can then be seen throwing the endangered creature into an outdoor swimming pool. The group are then filmed, by one of their members, running away and laughing.

The disturbing footage was shared by Opinion Line on Cork's 96fm on their Facebook page and it has caused outrage online.

Primary school teacher Katie O'Connell was sitting and relaxing in the pool at the time when a girl said she saw something swimming by.

Katie O'Connell spotted the eel in the Cork swimming pool

"I said a lot of leaves fall in so it's probably that. I wouldn't be very fearful of fish etc so I told her I'll walk around the pool and check. Then I just spotted the eel at the bottom of the pool.

"I told them what it was and questioned if I should pick it up to try to save it. I was nervous to do it for some reason so I ran to get a staff member. By the time we came back out the eel had turned over on its back and had either died or was dying.

"The staff member went to get her manger and I just left the pool and I was getting upset watching it suffer."

Ms O'Connell (32) told that the pool was drained a short time later: "I am a massive animal lover. Although I didn't get a fright with the eel in the pool I found it massively distressing to watch it dying in front of me.   

"It has really affected me," she added..

According to Fisheries Ireland the European Eel is "critically endangered".

Bye-laws prohibit commercial fishing and angling for eel, or possessing or selling eel caught in a Fishery District in the State.

Last Month revealed that a dead porpoise was brought to student accommodation in Cork city.

Photographs emerged of the mammal lying on its side next to a wall, with others showing two young males dancing with the carcass in the kitchen area of an apartment.

Photos showing the mammal at the party (Photo:

One young man is holding the mammal over his shoulder, while the other young man can be seen photographing the incident on his phone.

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