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Over 1,200 licensed firearms stolen by criminals in last five years – Ó Snodaigh

9 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for legislation to be introduced to tighten gun control laws in the state. Speaking in the Dáil today about the shooting dead of Aidan Kane on Sunday night Deputy Ó Snodaigh revealed that over 1,200 legally held firearms have fallen into the hands of criminals in the past five years.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "We need to see a robust response from Government to the increasing level of gun crime in Ireland. We need to face up to the fact that Irish society is facing a growing crisis particularly when we realise that young teenagers are carrying guns.

"The murder of Aidan O'Kane on Sunday night in East Wall must serve as an eye opener for the Government which sparks them into action. We cannot allow this crisis to carry on unchallenged.

"In response to a parliamentary question from myself last week the Minister for justice revealed that over 1,200 legally held firearms fell into the hands of criminals in the past five years. This is a shocking statistic that highlights the need for legislation to tighten up the laws regarding the licensing of firearms.

"We also need to see a tightening of security along our ports as huge amounts of firearms continue to enter the country alongside the vast amounts of drugs that fuel the illicit drugs marker that continues to spiral out of control. It is yet another shocking fact to learn that the state has just one x-ray machine working to detect illegal drugs and weapons entering the state through the ports in trucks and containers. This machine is moved around form port to port to meet demand but, judging from the amount of illegal drugs and guns in the state, it is obviously struggling to keep up.

"The tightening up of gun licensing laws and the trafficking of illegal guns into the country must be a priority for the Government if we are to tackle this serious societal crisis." ENDS

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