THERE has been a huge amount of public support for a local councillor's efforts to organise a non-Garda weapons amnesty next month.
Cllr Stephen Wrenn (Lab), who represents the Ballymun/Finglas ward, said the ambitious plan would be backed by a number of youth and social workers who will attempt to educate the younger generation about the dangers of having weapons in their possession.
Speaking to Northside People, Cllr Wrenn said he hopes people will dispose of not just knives but also more serious weapons such as pipe bombs and guns.
“We’re hoping to raise awareness about the dangers people face when carrying or using weapons, so anything that highlights this is worth doing,” he said.
He added: “I’ve been involved a lot in social work and sometimes when people are given an opportunity to change they take it on board. The weapons amnesty will act as a preventative strategy and when it comes to health and crime we have to be pro-active.”
He said anybody who comes forward with weapons could arrange to speak with youth workers who will provide education about the consequences of carrying weapons.
The youth workers would also provide information on positive youth oriented outlets such as youth clubs and youth organisations.
Cllr Wrenn explained that some people might have weapons in their homes that they haven’t used in years and they may simply want an outlet to dispose of them.
He has already received a call from a man who asked him if he could dispose of an air rifle he has in his possession.
“Word of the weapons amnesty is spreading, and the more information in the public domain the better,” he said.
It is hoped that the amnesty will mirror the success of a similar Garda operated initiative in 2006. During that two-month long amnesty, 953 weapons were handed over to gardai.
However, Cllr Wrenn noted that weapons have since evolved over the past six years, citing pipe bombs and automatic guns as the weapons of choice for some people these days.
“For some reason, carrying weapons is becoming a badge of honour for some people and we’re not totally sure why this is, but education and awareness are key to tackling the problem of weapons before it gets further out of control.”
Justice Minister Alan Shatter is yet to signal his backing for the plan. However, an email sent by the Department of Justice to Cllr Wrenn said the matter is currently being dealt with.