"Over 500 Knives Seized by Gardai in 5 years" - Eric Nelligan
Aontú representative for Castletroy, Eric Nelligan, is warning about the significant and worsening increase in knife seizures. Figures obtained by Aontú through a parliamentary question revealed a 60 per cent increase in a short number of years in the number of seized knives across the country with large increases in Limerick witnessed too. In 2016 67 knives were seized in county Limerick, this number rocketed up to 102 in 2017 and has remained high since, the most recent county breakdown figure I got was for 2021 when 98 knives were taken in.
Both locally and nationally from 2017 onwards a serious spike in seizures was measured. Ten years ago, in 2013, some 1,341 knives were seized across the state. Similar figures were recorded in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the number in 2016 was 1210. The numbers from 2017 have increased dramatically, Last year some 2,132 knives were seized by members of the Gardaí. In 2021 the figure was 1,832 and in 2020 and 2019 the number of knives seized was 2,257 and 2,146 respectively. 2017 saw the largest number seized in Limerick at 102, with numbers at 86, 74, 86 in subsequent years up to 98 in 2021.
Mr Nelligan said: "At one level the work of the Gardaí is to be welcomed. Taking these knives off the street has saved lives. But it also shows that there is a significant and worsening problem of knives on our streets. These figures show a 60 per cent increase in knife seizures over the past 10 years. That’s an enormous increase”.
He continued: “In recent years, there have been peaks in the number of individuals being treated in hospitals for knife assault injuries, particularly in 2019 and 2021. This increase in knife-related assaults is very concerning, and some members of An Garda Síochána believe it is a sign of increased knife-carrying, particularly among young males.”
Aontú are calling for more gardai on the streets, tougher sentences, and a knife amnesty - this gives members of the public the chance to dispose of a knife anonymously.
Mr Nelligan concludes; “The Government will say that more knives have been found because there are more Gardaí, this is not true. Ireland has one of the lowest number of police per capita in the EU. And given the population increase the number of Gardaí per capita is static since 2016 when it was hammered by the austerity closure of Templemore, only 140 trainee Gardaí enrolled in the Garda training college in 2022 while over 450 members of the force resigned or retired.’’