Knife seizures by gardaí up 66% since 2016
Gardaí believe young people are carrying knives as they fear being attacked over drug debts
Garda sources say the vast majority of knives seized were from young people during stop-and-search operations. Photograph: Getty Images
There are concerns Ireland could face more knife crime following figures showing a 66 per cent increase in knife seizures since 2016.
According to figures released by gardaí, 2,000 knives were seized in 2018 compared to 1,600 in 2017 and 1,200 in 2016.
Garda sources said the vast majority of these knives were seized from young people during stop-and-search operations.
“This clearly shows a lot more young people are carrying knives. And these knives are obviously being seized because gardaí believed they were for criminal purposes,” said Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, who obtained the figures.
He said he was concerned Ireland could be going down the same road as London which recorded over 40 knife crimes a day throughout 2018.
“Obviously Ireland is different to London, but there’s a tendency for crime trends to be repeated in Ireland once they start in Britain. We have to ensure we do not allow knife crime to become a problem in the same way that it has in the UK.
“That involves spending resources on it now. Part of the reason there is a big knife problem in the UK is a reduction of police officers and community police officers.”
Gardaí said many young people were carrying knives because they were in fear of being attacked over drug debts or as part of minor feuds. However, it is thought at least some of the rise is down to increased Garda numbers and more stop and searches.
Mr O’Callaghan said there needed to be education for young people on the consequences of carrying knives.