Level of calls to emergency services similar to past years
EMERGENCY SERVICES throughout the State dealt with hundreds of incidents on Halloween night, but said disruption had been consistent with previous years.
A spokesman for the Leinster fire and ambulance control centre said it received about 1,600 calls during the night and attended roughly 500 incidents across the province. This was about average for Halloween, he said.
Throughout the week, councils had asked people to report stockpiling of materials for bonfires ahead of Halloween night. Gardaí could not confirm the number of calls received by stations, but said there were “no serious incidents” to report. They added that policing plans had been adequate to deal with the night’s festivities.
Car burnings were in “double digits” over Dublin and the 11 counties monitored by Tara Street fire station.
A 12-year-old boy was taken to Tallaght hospital after he sustained second-degree burns to his face, neck and hands when a firework exploded, while a woman (26) was injured following an explosion at a bonfire.
A group of youths stoned an ambulance as paramedics returned to Beaumont Hospital with a patient; fire services from Dolphin’s Barn also came under attack, as did an ambulance in Tallaght, but emergency workers had anticipated these types of incidents, according to the spokesman.
Elsewhere across the State, emergency services in Cork, Galway and Limerick reported a heavy volume of phone calls, but few major incidents.
In Connacht fire services had a “very quiet” night, attending just 14 bonfires, a “not untypical” number, according to a spokesman. He said fire services in the province tend to be busier on June 23rd, St John’s night, the traditional bonfire night in the west.
Fire services in Munster attended 96 incidents – mostly “bonfires, vehicle fires, and skip fires”, a spokeswoman said – and received 165 calls.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received 183 calls and attended 133 incidents across the North, the lowest figure recorded for October 31st since 1989. The majority of the incidents involved rubbish, bonfires and flaming tyres left on roadways.
According to a statement “fire crews were attacked during five isolated incidents, mostly from youths throwing stones or fireworks”.
CAR BURNINGS ON THE INCREASE
Since the end of the government car scrappage scheme, the Dublin Fire Brigade has noticed an increase in the number of cars being set alight, an officer has said.
Greg O’Dwyer, third officer with the fire brigade, said a number of vehicles had been set alight and others driven into bonfires during the course of the night, one of “the usual busy Halloween nights that we’ve come to expect”.
Revellers drove cars into bonfires in Finglas, Ballyfermot and Tallaght, while other vehicles were set alight across Dublin.
This practice had been “very common” a few years ago but had “died off a bit” recently. Mr O’Dwyer said.
Typically “a few lads would get together and put in €10 or €50” to buy a cheap car that was due to be scrapped. The youths would joyride this “company car” before abandoning it, burning it out, or, frequently at Halloween, driving it into a bonfire.
Mr O’Dwyer said the practice almost “completely died off” following the introduction of the government scrappage scheme in 2009, which offered drivers a discount of up to €1,500 on a new car if they traded in a vehicle aged 10 years or over.
The scheme came to an end in 2011 and since then, Mr O’Dwyer said, the fire brigade has noticed an increase in the number of car fires.
An official from Dublin City Council said it had recently received a high volume of calls about abandoned vehicles.
“We always would have got a lot of calls but it did seem to increase since the end of scrappage.”