Lord Mayor urges knife amnesty as well as action on drug dealing

“We need to come up with innovative ways of tackling knife crime,” Cllr Forde said.
Lord Mayor urges knife amnesty as well as action on drug dealing

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

LORD MAYOR Deirdre Forde has called for a knife amnesty in Cork city, saying ‘we have no idea how many knives are in our community’.

The Fine Gael councillor said she wants the knife amnesty to tackle crime and to emulate similar schemes that were successfully implemented in other jurisdictions.

The move would see knife bins installed around Cork city, where knife owners could legally dispose of their knives.

Speaking to The Echo, the Lord Mayor said it is a serious issue and needs to be ‘tackled’.

“We need to come up with innovative ways of tackling knife crime,” Cllr Forde said.

“It is not the only crime obviously, but it is one way of doing it. It is one way of drawing attention to the issue and try and prevent it from escalating.

“This is a serious issue and does untold damage to victims, their families but also to the perpetrators and their families as well,” she said.

Cllr Forde said knife amnesties have proven successful in other jurisdictions.

“It seems to have been successful in other jurisdictions,” she said. “I think in England over 100,000 knives were handed in after their amnesty.

“We need to take it seriously. People who might have knifes in their possession have got to learn it is not acceptable. They can hand them in and there won’t be any repercussions. They would be doing a service to the wider public and it would reassure people.

“We have no idea of how many knives are in our community. One knife is too much. We are not talking about butter knives here. We are talking about lethal weapons,” she added.

The Lord Mayor said she is going to write to the Justice Minister outlining her knife amnesty plan and to invite him to Cork city.

“I am going to write to the acting Minister for Justice Simon Harris and mention that I believe this is an area we should go down. I understand other colleagues are looking for knife amnesties in other cities and perhaps now is the time that we explore how we go about it in conjunction with the gardaí.

“I’m sure the gardaí would be happy to facilitate and participate in it.”

The Lord Mayor also expressed her concerns in relation to the ‘variation’ of sentencing.

“There is a lot of anxiety in the variation of sentencing. We also need to look at tougher sentencing which would deter people from carrying such lethal weapons and perhaps using them.

“It will send out a message as well if they enforce tougher sentences. This is for the legislators to consider. The sentencing is up to the judiciary.

“We want to safeguard everyone in our community who want to live their lives peacefully.”

Cllr Forde said all the relevant stakeholders in Cork city need to come up with a strategy that is fit for purpose to combat drugs and crime.

“We all need to gather around the table and have an honest conversation about the selling of drugs in the streets and what we need to do. It is not all stick either.

“If there is a gap in services, training or in support for people who partake in drugs, do we need a mobile drug unit?

“I want to gather everyone round a table to come up with a strategy that is fit for purpose,” she added.

“We want to keep our city beautiful,” the Lord Mayor said. “A small cohort is ruining it for everybody.

“We need to say that it won’t be tolerated. We are drawing the line here. What needs to be tackled will be tackled.”

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