As Ella Farrelly, 12, set off to her first disco dance, her protective dad Joe Farrelly posed alongside her jokingly wielding a gun - along with her uncles.

The image, designed to send out a lighthearted warning to boys who might approach his daughter quickly attracted more than 30,000 likes after Joe shared it on the Unilad Facebook page.

However while they may look scary, Joe says his gun is more used for clay pigeon shooing than anything else - and said the photo was taken to dissuade the boys.

And he admits that organizing disco party himself made him cautious about his daughter attending.

'The biggest problem is that from helping out at those discos I know what happens. Maybe if I didn't I wouldn't be so bad,' he told The Irish Independent.

He added that he had witnessed terrible things happen at parties and he was going to protect his daughter at all cost.

He admitted it was tough to watch Ella, the older of his two daughters, grow up and said it had happened all too quickly.

Ella seemed to take the whol thing in good spirits and rather than being embarrassed by her dad's sense of humour, Joe said she found the photo 'hilarious'.

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