Helen McEntee toughens knife crime sentences as a ‘preventative measure’

Helen Mcentee Toughens Knife Crime Sentences As A ‘Preventative Measure’
The penalty for importing and selling knives is to be increased from seven to 10 years. Photo: PA
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee says she is introducing tougher sentences for knife crime as a “preventative measure”.

Cabinet approved a proposal from the Minister to increase sentences for knife-related crimes after new Taoiseach Simon Harris pledged to focus on law and order.


These include possessing a knife with intent to unlawfully cause injury, trespassing with a knife and producing a knife to unlawfully intimidate from a maximum sentence of five to seven years.

The penalty for importing and selling knives is to be increased from seven to 10 years.

“Knives are extremely dangerous, and knife crime must carry significant consequences,” she said on Tuesday.

There were 2,146 knives seized in 2019, 2,260 in 2020 and 2,186 in 2023, according to garda figures.


Asked whether she expected knife-related crime to fall as a result of is change, she said: “What we always need to do is try and put in place preventative measures.

“Thankfully, we’re not in a situation where we potentially are in London or Glasgow, where we have particular gangs where knife crime is a really serious issue.

“We have seen a small and incremental problem here in Ireland, and we need to make sure that it doesn’t get any worse.

“So this is about making sure to Minister Browne’s point, the punishment matches the crime at the moment.


“Simple possession for a knife is five years, possession with intent is also five years. So what is happening here is we’re increasing the sentence to match the crime that’s been committed.”

She said the measures were being taken based on recommendations from the Anti-Social Behaviour Forum, established in 2020, to increase penalties on possessing or producing knives.

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