Dáil Éireann - Volume 676 - 25 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Crime Levels.
Deputy Fergus O’Dowd Deputy Fergus O’Dowd
Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the  action he will take to address the increase in knife crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7742/09]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: While the number of murders committed involving knives showed a welcome decrease last year from 32 in 2007 to 11, the overall number of crimes committed using knives is a matter of concern. Though legislation on the use of knives and similar weapons is already very strong and heavy penalties are already in place, I am moving to strengthen the law in this area. In that context, I sought and received proposals from the Garda Commissioner on strengthening the law on knife crime. These include: increasing the penalties for possessing a knife in a public place; creating an extended power of search without warrant in certain circumstances; and the introduction of a prohibition in relation to swords.
I have accepted these proposals and they will be included in the forthcoming Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. Drafting of the Bill is now almost completed, and the Government have agreed to treat it as a priority measure for this Dáil session. In addition to these measures, I have directed the drafting of a new Firearms and Offensive Weapons Order which will deal with the issue of swords. In particular I will be banning the sale of samurai swords. On 5 February, the Garda Commissioner and I launched a Knife Awareness Campaign by An Garda Síochána with the objective of informing and educating young people on the dangers of carrying knives and with the aim of reducing the number of incidents of knife crime.
Dáil Éireann 676 Written Answers. Crime Levels.