Ireland needs an immediate knife amnesty to get dangerous weapons off the street amid a surge in knife crime, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond says.
He said such schemes - which allow people to hand in weapons to police without the risk of any repercussions - have worked well in both Ireland and the UK in the past.
It follows three separate stabbings in Dublin over the weekend.
Three men were hospitalised in separate attacks across the capital within an hour on Saturday afternoon.
Two of the incidents happened in the Dublin 15 area, while the third happened in the Grafton Street area of the city centre.
Deputy Neale Richmond told Newstalk Breakfast it’s vital that knives are removed from the country's streets.
He said: “Sadly, it’s a growing issue over the last four years. We’ve seen a steady increase not only in knife crimes incidence, but sadly a 10% increase in hospitalisations from knife crime incidents across the country. It has become particularly acute in parts of Dublin over the last 12 months.”
“The really worrying thing is the people who are the victims and perpetrators are getting younger.
“In the medium-term, following the Scottish violence reduction model would be the best approach."
He explained that the mid-2000s saw Glasgow in particular badly impacted by knife crime in particular
Authorities in Scotland approached it not just as a justice matter, and instead tackled it as a public health and education issue as well.
Deputy Richmond explained: “Part of that was the knife amnesty, where they took up to 1,000 knives off the streets.
"This is what we did in this country in Limerick 15 years ago, where 300 knives were taken off the streets in a month-long period.
“Things like a knife amnesty can be done tomorrow, at the whim of the Minister for Justice in cooperation with the gardaí… but it’s about actually doing this.
“That’s why after the really sad events over the weekend, where three people were hospitalised in the space of an hour… we really need to accelerate this.”
The Dublin Rathdown TD said such a move should happen immediately, along with greater resources for gardaí in impacted areas.
He said officials “can’t even consider” approaches such as increased ‘stop and seize’ powers unless more gardaí are on the streets.
However, he argued that it's also not just about getting more gardaí patrolling the streets - saying officers should also speak in schools, youth clubs and sports organisations to tell young people about the dangers of knives and carrying them.