The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Michael McDowell, T.D., has said that following the conclusion of the Weapons Amnesty today, the toughest penalties for firearms offences ever introduced in the history of the State will come into operation.

While a comprehensive tally will be compiled over the next few days, an update provided this morning An Garda Síochána indicates that 368 weapons have now been handed in.

From tomorrow, 1 November 2006, persons who failed to avail of the amnesty and continue to hold weapons illegally will face very harsh penalties when the mandatory minimum prison sentences provided for in the Criminal Justice Act come into effect.

The new penalties are as follows:

The Tánaiste said, "The Weapons Amnesty has afforded people an opportunity to hand in illegally held firearms and other offensive weapons before the introduction of the new stringent sentences for firearms offences - the toughest ever introduced in the history of the State.

From tomorrow, minimum mandatory sentences will come into operation and I expect the judiciary to implement these new provisions in full.  Only in exceptional and specific circumstances, and in the case of a first offence only, can the court exercise discretion to impose less than the minimum sentence.

The limited amnesty followed by the introduction of harsh penalties, combined with the continuing efforts of the Gardí in Operation Anvil, are all part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the incidence of crime in which weapons are involved.  I am determined to ensure that those found in possession of firearms will pay a very serious price for their crimes."

The following is an update on the number of weapons surrendered under the Weapons Amnesty. This tally does not include all weapons surrendered in the past week.

List of weapons surrendered under the Criminal Justice Act 2006 Weapons Amnesty
Weapon Type  Running Total 
Shotguns  77 
Rifles 46 
Pistols/revolvers/handguns  46 
Air pistols/rifles/guns  69 
Pellet guns  19 
Gas gun 
.177 repeater 
Starting pistols  13 
Theatre guns 
Replica firearms  17 
Stun guns  
Crossbows  13 
Various knives  54 
Mace spray 
Humane killer 
Total  368 


















The Weapons Amnesty and the new firearms penalties are part of a much larger drive to reduce gun crime in Ireland. Operation Anvil, which is ongoing, commenced in the Garda Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) on 17 May, 2005 and was extended nationwide in 2006.

Operation Anvil is an intelligence led policing initiative which targets active criminals and their associates involved in serious crime by preventing and disrupting criminal activity through extensive additional overt patrolling and static check points by uniform, mobile and foot patrols, supported by armed plain clothes patrols.

Operation Anvil has proved to be very successful in disrupting the criminal activities of a number of key criminal gangs.  It has resulted in a number of high-profile arrests and the acquisition of intelligence on the movements of criminals. 

The most recent figures available show that since the introduction of Operation Anvil there have been:


In the Dublin Metropolitan Region


Rest of the country


31 October 2006