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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
State Papers

This 1984 memo to the Taoiseach is why you can't buy bangers at Halloween

You can buy all the toy gun caps you like though.

THE TAOISEACH’S DEPARTMENT was reassured that “bangers” weren’t part of a legislative amendment in 1984 that allowed shopowners to store more “small fireworks”.

The Keeping of Fireworks Order 1984 related “solely to toy cap guns and similar type products of an innocuous nature.”

That’s according to a private memo sent to the government secretary in January 1984 released under the 30 Year Rule.

The note outlined that the Department of Justice had been consulted on the matter and were ready to allay fears that “bangers” may soon be widely available in Irish stores:

It does not cover fireworks of the rocket or explosive nature (designed to give spectacular effects by way of explosions).

The amendment itself changed the Explosive Act 1875 which requires all explosives in the State to be kept in a “special building” away from roads and places where people gather.

It was felt that this requirement was too strict on “shop goods”, items like toy gun caps which also had to be housed in separate buildings. The 1984 change meant that caps no longer had to be housed in a special building and also allowed shopkeepers keep more of them.

But the Taoiseach’s office had sought guarantees that the change would not mean that fireworks would become commonplace in Irish stores.

The memo read:

I have also clarified that the proposed order does not cover “bangers” – items which are often brought in here by children and others who have been on holidays abroad and which let off a loud bang when ignited.

“Bangers as such are not permissible in this State and sale of such products would be illegal.”

Read: “I’m not dampening all the fun, but parents need to be sensible” – Minister >

Read: Two bodies found after English fireworks factory blaze >

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