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Gerry O'Carroll: Kilimanjaro folk are lucky to get a peek at our Georgia

Until now, the only altitude sickness our models and celebs suffered was when they paid a visit to the VIP section at the top of Krystle -- that well-known haunt of beautiful people.

Well not so any more.

Just three weeks ago, we were able to see how Sile Seoige, Kathryn Thomas, Karl Spain and Jenny Buckley got on when climbing Kilimanjaro.

Today I've been informed that top model Georgia Salpa, and her friends Daniella Moyles and Louise Johnston, will also make the same trip, their efforts to be captured by a TV crew.

You'd wonder what locals living near Kilimanjaro would make of the procession of Irish celebs and models making their way there now and their new-found obsession with climbing mountains.

However, in the name of charity, I'm sure all is forgiven.

Bin the Blades now ... or this knife terror will go on and on

THE horrors of knife crime are never too far away in this one-time little land of Saints and Scholars.

The number of knife murders spiralled from eight in 2003 to 21 in 2005 and to a high of 37 in 2007.

It fell to 15 in 2008, before rising again to 19 in 2009.

But if last week's horrific toll of knife crime is anything to go by, it indicates that things are getting worse.

Two years ago, our previous government, under pressure from growing public anger and a number of high-profile knife murders, enacted tough new legislation on knife crime.

This gave the gardai more power to stop and search those suspected of being in possession of knives.

It increased the penalty for possession of knives in public places to five years imprisonment.

Alarming

It also banned the carrying and possession of samurai swords, and other lethal martial arts type 'Rambo' blades. Latest CSO figures show a dramatic reduction in gun crime, yet despite the new laws, the crackdown by gardai and heavy sentences being handed down by the courts, the incidents of knife crime continue unabated. In fact, judging by the latest tragic incidents of knife crime are getting truly alarming.

Last week in Baldoyle, a taxi driver was stabbed in his home during a burglary.

Unbelievably, in the hallowed environs of Croagh Patrick, a man was knifed during a row.

At the weekend, a young man of 32, was brutally stabbed to death outside his local pub.

For those related to the victims, the aftermath is one of devastation, pain and great suffering.

I've seen at first-hand the destruction it can bring to people's lives.

While serving as a detective in Sundrive Road, I was involved in the separate investigations into the fatal stabbings of two young men.

Teenager Glen Ward was just 16 years of age when he was stabbed to death on Cooley Road in 1992. The following year, Air Corps solder Keith Wall (19) was stabbed on Balfe Road in Crumlin.

These deaths had a profound effect on me and I was deeply upset. I saw up close the devastating aftermath of these wanton knife killings. I witnessed the suffering and the trauma of their families.

After that I was determined to make some real effort to highlight the problem and stop the destruction that knives can cause in the hands of young thugs.

I met some like-minded people and we formed a committee called 'Bin The Blade' to lobby the Government for a change in legislation. We also called at that time for an amnesty where people could dump blades without consequences.

We took this idea from England. I had visited cities such as Liverpool, London, Bristol and Birmingham where the knife amnesty occurred. It was judged as an enormous success with thousands of deadly blades taken off the streets.

We received little support from Government. We had to wait many years when Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, a token effort made to get our 'Bin The Blade' campaign off the ground.

Maim

Since I became a columnist with the Herald, this newspaper has championed the campaign against knife crimes and still supports 'Bin the blade' campaigns.

In the light of horrific events last week, we have to commit ourselves and call on this Government to support a proper 'Bin the Blade' campaign.

It needs to be as dramatic and as powerful as those drink driving ads.

We will need to highlight the dangers to youths -- young men especially as they are usually the ones carrying knives and affected most by it.

Carrying a blade for so-called self-defence will never ever be accepted as a valid reason. Knives are only carried to kill and maim.

In our bid to stamp out this terrible crime, no effort should be spared by community groups to highlight the appalling effects of knife crime.

The use of knives in our society cannot be tolerated any further.

Ryan needs to listen to his audience to survive

FIRSTLY, I'd like to congratulate Tubridy for making a positive impact on Graham Norton's weekly BBC Radio 2 show -- a difficult slot for any personality and Tubridy's success should be applauded.

But things aren't rosy at home for him. The latest JNLR figures show that Tubridy's listeners are down a third when compared to those enjoyed by the late Gerry Ryan in the same slot for 2fm.

The Late Late Show host won't be too down though -- Tubridy is still the darling of Montrose.

But staggeringly, the once-valued 2fm slot is still without a sponsor. Naturally with such a dramatic slump in the listenership figures, the post mortem has begun.

Now it's been reported that the RTE bosses have asked Tubridy to cut back on mentioning Twitter, and also his habit of cutting off a song.

And while I'm here, I have to address his taste in music. Many of us will like the stuff that Tubridy enjoys -- but unfortunately most of his audience wants mainstream, more contemporary music. More Black Eyed Peas and less Sinatra.

Tubs, times are hard and the station is losing money. You need to be on top of your game. You're the salvation of 2fm -- listen to what your audience wants. Ultimately, they'll save you.


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