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Is Ireland heading the way of Sweden on youth crime?

Earlier this month I reported how, according to a high-ranking police officer in Sweden’s capital, 80% of those arrested in Stockholm are children.

The shocking statistics show that children as young as 14 are being arrested for firearm violence within the city, with one crime expert describing it as a “difficult task for the authorities to handle.”

“Our justice system is not built for so many children to be involved in crime,” said Fredrik Gårdareadded, a Swedish gang expert.

He went on to explain that Swedish gangs use children to commit illegal acts because it’s known historically that the courts go easier on minors than they would adults who committed the same crime.

While this problem of youth criminality may seem very far away to someone in Ireland, it might not be as far away as we’d like to think.

In May of 2021, the Irish Independent reported how criminals were grooming children into being involved with drug trafficking, leading to a 150% rise in juvenile drug offences.

As the article explains:

“The grooming of children by criminals has been blamed for a 150pc rise in drug offences committed by juveniles in Dublin.

About 1,000 drug offences were committed by children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 last year compared with 400 in 2016, figures from the Garda Juvenile Diversion Bureau (GJDB) reveal.

The growth in drug offences by young people was in line with an overall increase in drug use as well as grooming, the director of the GJDB, Chief Superintendent Colette Quinn, said.

“People that are involved in drugs tend to use younger people because they have a view that they will be treated less harshly under the criminal justice system,” she told Dublin City’s Joint Policing Committee.

A third of all juvenile offenders aged 17 referred to the GJDB last year were linked to more than one crime, with 6pc regarded as serial offenders.”

Note that the explanation for Ireland’s rise in youth criminals is the same as the one given by Swedish authorities – namely, lenient sentencing for minors in the courts. It turns out that Irish scumbags and Swedish scumbags are equally unscrupulous, and will happily exploit society’s good intentions to weaponise the weakest among us.

As a brief aside, by the way, it’s worth pointing out that the same article claims that “some children who would not previously have been engaged in serious criminal activity were being groomed by prisoners who had got early release due to Covid.” So there is a cost of lockdown element to this as well – but that’s for another article.

Regardless, it turns out that drug offences are not the only crimes being committed by children. They’re getting more violent as well.

The piece explains:

“Latest figures show the number of assaults by juveniles in Dublin city rose by 9pc last year to nearly 900.”

And this seems to ring true anecdotally, as we see more and more underage individuals being charged with high profile crimes like the following.

Bear in mind that I don’t mean to insinuate that any of these individuals are involved in gang-related activity – I have no reason to assume they are. This is simply to show a trend of adolescents receiving charges or convictions for serious offences.

Just this week it was reported that a 16-year-old boy stabbed another 16-year-old seven times outside of a disco in Liffey Valley, Dublin.

The victim received life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the chest, stomach, shoulder and leg, and barely managed to survive. He spent four days in intensive care with a collapsed lung, having to receive multiple blood transfusions, and was wheelchair-bound for a period of time.

Judge Martin Nolan, who heard the case, said that without medical intervention, the boy would have died.

We could also look at the fact that two teenagers in Waterford who attacked another group of teens with acid, leaving the victims with severe skin burns, did not face criminal charges.

We could go through other headlines, like “Boy (16) guilty of murder of Urantsetseg Tserendorj” – who was, incidentally, a mother of two.

“Teenager stabbed friend during fight to settle row between girlfriends.”

“Teenager (18) recorded accomplice stabbing a man on Snapchat, court hears.”

“Schoolboy ‘held knife to another boy’s throat’ during row at South Dublin school.”

“Teenager who stabbed 18-year-old in a Dublin park found guilty of manslaughter.”

“A 17-year-old boy tapped a kitchen knife on his leg a number of times before he lunged forward and stabbed a student in the neck in Cork last January.”

“Teenage girl stabbed multiple times after ‘argument’ with boy, 12, in East Cork.”

Etcetera, etcetera – we could list examples all day.

Everyone knows that Ireland has a problem with crime which urgently needs to be addressed more generally. But if the government does not focus its attention particularly on the growing number of adolescent criminals terrorising our streets, we are in for a very dangerous future.

Nobody wants to live in a country with the crime problems of Sweden, in which ruthless gangs commit weekly grenade attacks, and juvenile gangsters shoot each other regularly. Nobody wants to live in a country where youths like those in Cherry Orchard laugh in the face of lawful authority, and who live with a lawless abandon at the expense of their fellow citizens.

And yet this is the direction Ireland may be headed if we don’t nip this problem in the bud in its infancy – pardon the pun.

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