The casual act of whipping out a pocketknife and slicing up a bar of soap at a rural county fair transformed this ad from Unexceptional 70’s Schlock into Unintentional High Camp. Even though this commercial became a cult classic, that same casual act would now likely land an Irishman in jail.
In 1990 the Irish Oireachtas ‘updated’ their knife laws, with the end result that carrying anything sharp or pointy is now illegal and subject to arrest. If you can prove that you had a good reason to carry it, you might be acquitted at trial. Good luck with that: it will take months and cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
All of this imbecility is set forth in the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, 1990:
9.—(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), where a person has with him in any public place any knife or any other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed, he shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a public place.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to prove that he had the article with him for use at work or for a recreational purpose.
How many ‘articles which have a blade or are sharply pointed’ can you think of? Pens, pencils, shovels, trowels, ice scrapers, chopsticks, rakes, screwdrivers, fine-nose pliers, tweezers, nail clippers, staples, scissors, toothpicks, and forks could all land you in jail in green Eire.
When making your travel plans, it would be wise to remember which countries won’t even let you carry a miniature Leatherman tool or Victorinox Solitaire in your pocket. Now that anything sharp or pointy is illegal, perhaps the Oiriechtas will outlaw flashlights next, because only burglars need them. Or rope?