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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Government must show it is serious about tackling knives on our streets

Published 04/12/2012 | 05:00

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The death of German student Thomas Heinrich outside a Dublin apartment complex again highlights the dangers of easy access to knives.

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Mr Heinrich and his friend Robert Rinker had chosen Dublin for their three-month overseas semester as part of their post-graduate degree in their Munich school.

They had been socialising in the capital earlier in the night and had returned to what they believed to be the safety of their temporary home.

Both men looked forward to flying back to Germany to spend Christmas with their families and recall memories of their stay.

Instead, Mr Heinrich's parents will be bringing his body home in a coffin and nobody could blame Mr Rinker, who was seriously injured, if he has no desire to visit here again.

Apart from the pain that has been inflicted on their families, the incident also impacts badly on Ireland's reputation as a safe country for visitors.

It is time for the government to show young people that illegal possession of knives carries heavy penalties and can have disastrous consequences.

An amnesty ordered by the Government six years ago resulted in almost 350 weapons being handed in.

But the rate of stabbing fatalities continued to increase over the next two years with figures for 2007 showing a worrying 100pc rise in knife-related deaths, up to 36 from 18 the previous year.

Over the past couple of years, however, there has been a fall-off in the use of knives in serious crime.

Last year they were used in 13 murders and Saturday's attack has brought this year's toll up to the same level.

Irish Independent

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