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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 23 Mar 1961

Vol. 187 No. 9

Ceisteanna-Questions Oral Answers. - Carrying of Knives by Unauthorised Persons.


asked the Minister for Justice if in view of the number of stabbings in Cork City recently he will consider the introduction of legislation to make the carrying of knives by persons other than those authorised to do so a punishable offence.

Knives have so many legitimate uses in everyday life that I do not think that it would be practicable to control them by legislation and legislation is not being considered at the moment.

Is it not a fact that there is legislation in Great Britain to control the sale and use of what are commonly known as flick knives? Would not some measure of an analogous character be considered for this country because I believe these are the kinds of weapons which attract certain irresponsible young people?

Naturally the police are watching any development as to the use of that particular kind of knife. It is true to say that there has been legislation in the British Parliament in respect to the sale of the flick knife but apparently it has failed to deal with those in possession of those knives. Whether the British will amend the Act to deal with the possession of the flick knife is something about which I cannot say anything. As to the recent stabbings in Cork, the Garda say that in only two cases were flick knives used. They say that the other knives used were the ordinary boy scout type of dagger which is also very easily purchased. While we are keeping the whole question of the use and sale of these knives under very close investigation, we have received no complaints from anybody in respect of their sale and use. If we do receive any such complaints they will be given very serious consideration.

The Minister would get great support from this House for a Bill to abolish the flick knife.

Bearing in mind the fact that the flick knife can be used for no good or useful purpose, will the Minister realise that if the British Government are going to restrict the use of them in Britain, there is a grave danger that the manufacturers of these weapons will dump them on the convenient Irish market? Will the Government use its power by way of legislation for the banning of imports to ensure that the British manufacturers will not dump their surplus into this country?

That possible development is under consideration.