Gardaí to target illegal fireworks ahead of Halloween

Dublin’s chief fire officer flags ‘catastrophic consequences ... fireworks can have on people’

Gardaí said they intend to remove stockpiled bonfire materials in the run-up to Halloween. File photograph: Getty

Gardaí said they intend to remove stockpiled bonfire materials in the run-up to Halloween. File photograph: Getty

 

People looking forward to Halloween activities are being reminded that unlicensed fireworks are illegal, dangerous and can cause “significant distress” to others.

Insp Aonghus Hussey of the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau said the force intends to clamp down on sale and supply of fireworks in addition to unsupervised bonfires.

It is an offence to possess, sell or light an unlicensed firework. Penalties imposed can be as high as €10,000, with up to five years in prison if convicted.

The Garda’s Operation Tombola will be active across the country in the lead up to Halloween to prevent public disorder and anti-social behaviour linked to the holiday, said Insp Hussey. Community gardaí will engage with young people in an effort to prevent anti-social behaviour, while there will be a noticeable Garda presence around communities on October 31st, he said.

“We will be liaising with local authorities and fire services to identify and remove stockpiled bonfire materials and abandoned vehicles,” said Insp Hussey.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphrey emphasised the “significant distress” fireworks can cause communities, particularly older people and those with sensory problems.

She noted that the rules around the sale of fireworks are “somewhat more relaxed” in Northern Ireland, but warned the rules this side of the Border are clear.

Dublin city’s chief fire office, Dennis Keeley, said firefighters have seen “the catastrophic consequences and . . . devastation fireworks can have on people”.

Frightened animals

Meanwhile, Conor Dowling, chief inspector with the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals encouraged pet owners to keep scared animals indoors when fireworks could be heard.

“Keep the lights low or play a radio or television in the background to drown out some of the noise,” he advised.