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Soaring rates of city knife crime prompts call for amnesty

THE Government is to consider bringing in a knife amnesty after a rise in the number of stabbings nationwide.

Ireland now suffers from the second-highest rate of knife killings per capita in Europe -- with senior judicial and health officials warning that knife crime is now out of control.

The warning came as one Irish city -- Cork -- suffered four major stabbing incidents in six days, with two young men dying. Two others suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Opposition health spokes-man Billy Kelleher said there was now "an overwhelming case" for a UK-style knife amnesty -- and for increased resources for anti-knife crime campaigns. "The events of the past few days are very worrying indeed and it is clear that something needs to be done," Mr Kelleher said.

Jonathan O'Brien (SF) also warned that something urgently needed to be done about knife crime.

Gardai launched a major anti-knife crime campaign in 2009 -- but concern over its national effectiveness has mounted following a series of high-profile stabbing incidents over recent months.

The Irish Association of Emergency Medicine boss, Dr James Binchy, has warned of an alarming increase in trauma cases linked to violent assaults in Irish A&E -- with knife injuries a significant proportion of the total.

Sunday Independent