Ireland is towards the top of the EU table for shootings and firearms seizures, according to one of the first studies of its type in Europe.
The research ranks Ireland as having a ‘high’ rate of non-fatal shootings and a “medium-high” rate of both fatal shootings and seizures of firearms.
The European Commission funded project gathered data from 28 EU member states over the period 2010 to March 2015. During that period there were:
The FIRE Project, co-ordinated by the Transcrime research centre in Italy, said there was a total of 3,875 recorded firearms seizures across the 28 states in the period, totalling more than 18,700 weapons.
It said 243 of these were large-scale seizures (of more than 10 firearms), comprising nearly 13,000 firearms.
The interactive project provides details on each seizure for each country, including Ireland.
The biggest seizure here was in June 2013, when 17 firearms were confiscated in Dublin. It comprised 10 revolvers, three pistols, three shotguns, and a submachine gun.
Highlighting the international nature of firearms trafficking, two Polish men were among nine arrested in the seizure of six pistols in April 2014 in Dublin.
And underscoring the type of firepower available, three submachine guns along with a pistol were seized in an operation in Clondalkin, west Dublin, in February 2015.
The project also provides information on the gender of those arrested, where the firearms were stored and if ammunition was seized.
Dublin accounts for the bulk of shootings — 134 of the 194 recorded. Limerick had six shootings during that time period, Louth had six, and Cork recorded five.
Breaking Ireland into two regions, it showed that the southern and eastern region recorded 232 seizures (358 firearms), while the Border, midland, and western region recorded 35 seizures (47 firearms).
In relation to shootings, the southern and eastern region recorded 167 shootings (63 deaths), while the Border, midland, and western region recorded 27 shootings (13 deaths).
Comparing Ireland to the other 27 EU states analysed, and based on population, the project ranked Ireland’s southern and eastern regions in the medium-high range for firearms seized and both regions as medium-high for deadly shootings.
It ranked the southern and eastern region as high for non-deadly shootings, while the Border, midland, and western region was medium-high.
The report said there was a high concentration of shootings in countries with traditional organised crime groups and gangs.
However, it shows that, across the 28 countries, family disputes and interpersonal rows accounted for 66% of deadly shootings and 60% of non-deadly shootings.
Organised criminal groups were behind 21% of fatal shootings and 16% of non-fatal shootings.
Pistols were involved in almost half of shootings and rifles in nearly 30%
The project said that their research was an “under- estimation of the real market” and only provided a “partial picture” of the illegal trade in firearms.
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