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One in eight pupils has weapon in classroom

IRISH pupils are among the worst in Europe for bringing knives and other weapons into school, an international survey has revealed.

Around one in eight pupils between 12 and 16 revealed they carried weapons -- the highest rate among 10 European countries.

The disturbing 13.9 pc rate of weapon carrying as given rise to concerns about safety within the nation's schools.

A United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) report on homicides and knife crime also found Ireland has the highest rate of killings of young men overall in western Europe. Ireland has the second highest death rate caused by the use of knives.


The homicide figures were calculated from the deaths of young people between 10 and 29 years old from 2004 and 2006. In the first seven months of 2010, there were 11 killings in Ireland involving knives.

The disturbing rate of killings with knives was the reason for the launch of a Government-backed How Big Do You Feel campaign last year.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy launched the campaign to inform and educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

The campaign targeted young males with messages delivered through role models from sports and media, a series of roadshows, a dedicated website and involvement in social networking sites.

The Victims of Homicide group said the new UN survey was shocking but not very surprising.

"Why have our young people become so violent? They seem to have lost their problem-solving skills and the first resort seems to be extreme violence," said spokeswoman Joan Dean.

Figures show that the number of violent offences involving the use of knives increased from 1,170 in 2008 to 1,264 last year, the highest total in seven years.

Last year, 19 people died in knife-related murders, six of them in Dublin.

The Herald launched the Bin The Blade campaign to highlight the dangers of knife crime.