IT is impossible to legislate to control the sale of knives that might be used to kill, injure or just intimidate people. Knives are so everyday that it would be impossible to control access.
However, that does not mean the issue is any less pressing — the opposite is the case — statistics show that 19 people were murdered with knives or other bladed or sharp objects in 2014, compared to 12 in 2013. This toll represents the largest number of knife deaths since 2009, when there were 19 fatalities also.
It is however possible to impose the kind of sentences on those convicted of knife crime that would act as a real deterrent. Families of homicide victims have called for mandatory sentences for some knife crimes and it is hard to dismiss their arguments. In the world we’d all like to live in there would be no knife crime or need for prisons but sadly that Utopia seems out of reach. Violent criminals have been emboldened by the reduction of the garda presence right across the country. Is it time to balance that reality by revisiting the plans of some years ago to build a new super prison?
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