Dublin’s ongoing growing knife crime problem resulted in the recent tragic and harrowing death of a 16-year-old who’s family have been left bereft and his football club shorn of a wonderful and promising talent.
The death of Josh Dunne shone a spotlight on what Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan described as ”an epidemic of knife crime in Dublin.”
Lasy month the death of Urantsetseg Tserendorj, a 48-year-old woman who moved to Dublin from Mongolia with her family a number of years ago, after a random attack on a pedestrian walkway saw his die from her injuries. Her family are left to pick up the pieces.
An awareness campaign in the wake of those tragedies and the many other attacks, reported and often unreported, aims to mount pressure on Government to control and eliminate knife crime in the captial.
Shocking statistics show that one in six knife seizures made by Gardai are from children aged 12 to 17. By the end of June last in pandemic-hit 2020, seizures increased by 13%.
Twenty people have been charged with possession of offensive weapons in North Dublin alone in 2021.
The Irish Sun is now spearheading a new campaign called ‘Knives Cost Lives’. Stephen Breen is its Crime Editor. The issue resonates with him deeply after the anguish of losing his father in a knife related incident in England.
He said he was at his home in Belfast on the night of August 11th when he got a call to say his father had been involved in an incident in London.
“Of course, I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked, I had no idea what was happening but the initial call said he was doing OK and he was being treated in hospital”.
Having travelled to be with mother not far away he got a call to be told ‘listen Stephen, I am so sorry, your father didn’t make it.’”
Mr Breen was involved in a number of appeals for information, along with his mother and grandmother.
“I can only imagine, I don’t care who you are or where you come from, surely you must have some conscience and when you wake up in the morning you think, I stabbed a man in his chest and he lost his life,” he said of the two suspects identified by Police, subsequent to the attack, but unfortunately without CCTV footage or the availability of hard evidence.
He says a long-term strategy is put in place to tackle the rise in knife crime in Ireland.
“It needs a multi-agency approach, “There is no point in Gardaí just going into a school and telling these kids they are going to lock them up. The Gardaí need to work closely with the education sector, the social sector and also Gardaí on the beat, the community Gardaí.”
He said education is key to solving the problem.
“It’s a long-term problem and it is not going to be fixed overnight but there needs to be a focus on it. Resources need to be put in place for communities, particularly deprived communities, so we can hopefully address this issue.”