'Devastating' Halloween fireworks warning issued

Leinster Express Reporter

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Leinster Express Reporter

halloween fireworks

Minster Charlie Flanagan joined with the Chief Fire Officer of the Dublin Fire Brigade, Denis Keeley, and Chief Superintendent for the DMR North Central, Patrick McMenamin. Pic; Maxwells

Laois TD and Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan has warned children and their parents about the devastating harm Halloween fireworks can cause.

Minister Flanagan warned about the potential for injuries and property damage as well as highlighting penalties that come with the illegal use of fireworks.

It is an offence to possess a firework with intent to sell or supply, without a licence; light illegal fireworks; or throw or direct a lit firework at any person or property.

“Most of us enjoy firework displays and we associate them with very special occasions.  However, it is really important that anyone who intends to illegally purchase fireworks to mark Halloween knows that these devices can be extremely dangerous and cause very serious injuries," said Minister Flanagan. 

"I want young people and their parents, in particular, to be aware of the risks – fireworks may be beautiful to watch but can be devastating if handled incorrectly," he said.

The Minister said that the law contains severe penalties in accordance with the dangers fireworks pose. 

Having unlicensed fireworks in your possession with an intent to sell or supply can result in a fine of up to €10,000 or up to five years imprisonment or both. Igniting fireworks or throwing an ignited firework at a person or property is also liable to the same severe penalties.

“Using illegal fireworks can harm not only you, your children or your pets - but your pocket and your reputation.  They’re just not worth the risks,” he said.

The Department of Justice and Equality launched the annual campaign to highlight these penalties in a bid to help keep communities safe this Halloween, working together with Emergency services, that are particularly busy at this time of year to prevent injuries and the illegal importation, sale and use of fireworks.

The Gardaí have put in place measures to prevent and detect the sale and organised importation of fireworks in the lead-up to Halloween.

Operation ‘Tombola' is designed to address all aspects associated with the policing of the Halloween period, including the prevention and detection of illegal fireworks for sale and associated public disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Fireworks with an approximate value of €2300 were seized during a search in Graiguenemanagh, Co Kilkenny during the week.

Every Halloween, the Fire Service receive a high number of callouts to bonfires and fireworks related incidents.

Firefighters are urging parents not to buy illegal fireworks for their children this Halloween and instead Families are being encouraged to attend family events organised by the council, rather than illegal fireworks and bonfire displays.

Fireworks are classed as explosives and are regulated under national and EU legislation. They can only be imported into the country under licence. They must be stored and sold in accordance with explosives law.

Minister Flanagan joined with the Chief Fire Officer of the Dublin Fire Brigade, Denis Keeley, and Chief Superintendent for the DMR North Central, Patrick McMenamin, to launch the Gone in a Flash campaign.