by David Raleigh
A RETIRED Limerick Detective Garda who has witnessed the impact of knife murders and knife attacks in Limerick city, has called on supermarket chain Lidl to remove “shocking” knives from its shelves.
The “knife assortment” which are retailing on Lidl’s shelves for €5.99, include a “pocket knife” with “21 practical functions” that includes a “saw” type blade.
Retired detective, Sean Lynch, complained: “One looks like a hunting knife, then you have another one with all different (blades), and then you have another serious looking one; I honestly believe this stuff is shocking.
“These are not your general run-of-the-mill house knives/kitchen knives; these are far from that; certainly, and Lidl should take them off the shelves,” said Mr Lynch, who is also a former Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick.
“Are Lidl going to sell these to anyone, any age group, what controls have they in place? Something needs to be done and they should be taken off the shelves,” he said.
“For €5.99 you can get the most serious weapon that has the potential in causing serious injury – and fatal injury – and I can’t believe Lidl stores are doing this when we are trying to do our best to combat knife crime.
“Is Lidl not conscious of the fact of the amount of knife crime and serious crime that has been committed by people using knives? I’ve been involved in garda investigations where knives have been the weapon of choice, and I’ve seen the results of knife attacks where people have received very serious injuries and fatalities, so, even with my own background, I’m shocked.
“Knives are a serious weapon, simple as. This needs to be highlighted – we can’t be saying we need to be combating knife crime, and then we have a general store that’s popular with a lot of people is selling these type of knives at this price.
“We all go to Lidl now and again to pick up bargains and this is the first time I’ve seen knives for sale in this way in the store, and I’m just taken aback by it.”
Mr Lynch said knife crime is “a national problem” and highlighted how the government plans to introduce legislation before Christmas, whereby a judge would be able to impose sentences of up to 10 years for an offence of carrying a knife “with intent”.
The current maximum sentence for carrying a knife is five years.
James Browne, Minister of State, Department of Justice, has said he is also seeking to introduce an age 16 requirement on purchasing knives.
Flick knives are already banned in Ireland, however Minister Browne has also spoken of his fears around the use of so-called “zombie knives”, which due to their saw action blade, can cause extremely serious injuries or death if they are pulled out of a person.
Mr Lynch said the prevalence of knives is also worrying his garda colleagues: “If you are stopped by the gardaí and you are found to be in possession of a knife, what’s your reasonable excuse? ‘Oh sure, I’m after buying it in Lidl, they’re advertised and they’re selling them at €5.99’. So, are the gardaí caught between a rock and hard place, then?”
When asked for a response, a Lidl spokesperson commented: “To put into context, as you can see from the full page in our leaflet attached, our Crivit Knife Assortment is part of our camping and outdoor activity range, which we sell on a promotional basis similar to many outdoor activity stores on the high street.
“Of course, the safety of our customers is always our top priority and we do have a policy in place that states that it is prohibited to sell a knife or sharp object to anyone under 18,” she added.
“If a customer wishes to purchase such an item, our employees are instructed to ask for ID,” the spokesperson concluded.