Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis has found that alcohol is a major factor when it comes to the cause of violent crimes in Ireland.
The Irish Independent reports that Deputy Curtis said gunshot wounds accounted for just over a third of murders in Ireland, followed by stabbings and blunt-force trauma. Alcohol was found to play a big factor in most of those assaults, with both the victim and assailant having been drinking.
"Some of the homicides we see reflect a very severe level of violence," Dr Curtis said.
"While that is obvious in the case of the shootings, it's also the case in many of the stabbings we do, and in many of the blunt-force trauma deaths and the assaults we do, with kickings and stamping and so on. Some of those reflect an extreme level of violence.
"Certainly with the blunt-force trauma ones – it is violence where there would have to be a sustained assault over a period of time, maybe as much as several minutes.
"We do on occasion see (cases) where someone gets the unlucky blow – they get a punch and they go back and they bang their head and they die because they banged their head – albeit they wouldn't have fallen and banged their head had they not been punched.
"But we also see cases where people have had repeated blows reigned on them with fists and feet and stamping as well as kicking," he said.
Dr. Curtis added that he was struck by the number of suicides in Ireland since he began working in 2004.
"It's probably the fact that it's a rural community and rural communities have firearms," he said.
Despite the nature of crimes in Ireland, Dr. Curtis said he did not believe Ireland had grown more violent during his tenure so far. “What I'm dealing with now is fewer (homicides) than in the really peak years," he said.