The Government has been urged by a Sinn Féin TD to tackle use of acid as a weapon after a teenager almost lost his sight.
Waterford teenager and Republic of Ireland youth international Tega Agberhiere, 16, was one of three victims targeted at Earlscourt in Waterford city on April 25.
Mr Agberhiere said at the time he feared he would never be able to see again when he was left with severe facial burns after an altercation with a number of youths, according to Gardaí.
Sinn Féin’s justice and equality spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire called on the Justice Minister to legislate to tackle the use of acid as a weapon and the sale of acidic products by amending the Chemical Act of 2008 to deal with the regulation of sale of corrosive substances.
Mr Ó Laoghaire told Charlie Flanagan that he needed to be proactive in tackling such attacks before they become commonplace.
“The recent acid attack in Waterford a few weeks back is a particularly harrowing example of the effects of such attacks and something which we do not wish to see replicated,” he said.
“These attacks are horrific and particularly malicious in their nature given that the attacker has chosen to use it as a weapon with the intent of causing maximum harm short of death.
“One of the victims of the attack, Tega Agberhiere, spoke about fear of being left blinded and the permanence of the scars that would be left never likely to heal fully.
“Padraig Sullivan, another young man who was attacked in the same incident described the pain as if someone had a lighter constantly on his leg, constantly burning and then after a while it was like his body numbed.”
Will later be raising with the Minister for Justice, following the horrific attack in Waterford in recent weeks, to consider whether legislation is needed to tackle the use of acid as a weapon. @sinnfeinireland— Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (@Donnchadhol) May 16, 2019
He added: “We must ensure that the use of acid as an offensive weapon is explicitly against the law.
“We should also examine the restriction of sale of certain products to minors in particular, that have a high acidic content and are potentially very harmful.”
The TD noted he was not accusing the minister of being lax on the issue but felt the Government should be proactive.
In Britain it is illegal, under the Offensive Weapons Act 2018, to possess liquid containing more than 15% sulphuric acid without a licence.
The Department of Justice has been approached for comment.
- Press Association