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Concerns raised as Dublin residents left 'petrified' over 'utter chaos' caused by fireworks

There have been multiple reports on social media in recent weeks of fireworks being let off across the city.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/sunakri

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised over “utter chaos” caused by the use of fireworks across Dublin in recent weeks, which have left residents “petrified”. 

The sale, possession and use of fireworks in the Republic of Ireland is illegal. 

Nonetheless, it’s not unusual for fireworks to be heard across the capital in late September and October in the lead up to Halloween. However, there have been dozens of reports on social media since early August of fireworks being let off in various areas of the city, north and south. 

Dublin City Council, in a statement to TheJournal.ie regarding the use of fireworks by the public, noted that “in recent years the annual Halloween season appears to start in mid-August to early September”. 

Despite this, a number of Dublin City councillors have expressed concern over what’s been described as a “growing issue” over the past month. 

Green Party Councillor Darcy Lonergan for Cabra-Glasnevin told TheJournal.ie she has been informed of fireworks being set off in areas such as Mountjoy, Ballybough, Stoneybatter and Finglas. 

There have also been similar incidents in the south-west inner city, according to local Sinn Féin councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh. 

However, Fine Gael Councillor Colm O’Rourke for Cabra-Glasnevin added that the issue “doesn’t appear to be confined to one particular area”, rather it “seems to be an issue right across the city”.

Similarly, Sinn Féin Councillor Daithi Doolan for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh said “fireworks have become a massive problem right across Dublin”. 

O’Rourke said: “Some residents have reported serious incidents, including fireworks being deliberately launched at them in public places by children or being set off on public pavements.”

He noted that fireworks “have always been a problem in the run-up to Halloween”, but added that such incidents seem to be happening “earlier this year”. 

It’s happening continuously in some areas. It’s utter chaos for these areas and a lot of people are petrified. 

Echoing the words of O’Rourke, Darcy Longeran said “many people feel very unsafe walking the streets, going to shops, and even in their own homes”. 

“Pets are terrified, too. If this type of behaviour is happening now I am very worried about Halloween activities,” she said. 

Reports

It remains unclear as to why fireworks are reportedly being let off across the city on a regular basis in recent weeks.

Following a query from TheJournal.ie, An Garda Síochána did not provide details as to whether it has received reports of fireworks being set off around Dublin. 

Likewise, Dublin City Council said the use of fireworks is not reported to Dublin Fire Brigade and that it does not keep track of such reports. 

However, it added that “as with members of the public, we too have noticed the re-emergence of fireworks”. 

Councillor Darcy Lonergan said that while she doesn’t condone these activities, “it’s not a coincidence that this is happening during these current times”. 

“Young people within the area are at a loss and we need more facilities and activities to keep them stimulated,” she said.  

However, it appears the use of fireworks this early in the year may not be a new occurrence, as the Council said that in recent years the “annual Halloween season appears to start in mid-August to early September”. 

“We generally see an increase in nuisance fires such as bonfires and wheelie bins set alight, which could be linked to the longer evenings and the return to school,” the Council said. 

“This gives a social setting for the use of fireworks, and with Covid-19 in mind, raises concerns over social distancing,” it warned. 

Legality 

As mentioned, the sale, possession and use of fireworks in the Republic of Ireland is illegal. Category F1 fireworks, such as Christmas crackers and party poppers, however, are exempt and are permitted. 

It is also illegal to possess any fireworks (with the exemption of those in Category F1) that may have been legally purchased outside the jurisdiction and brought into the State. 

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In a statement to TheJournal.ie, An Garda Síochána warned that “many of the illegal fireworks that are offered for sale illegally here have not passed any quality control tests and are possibly defective”. 

An Garda Síochána said it will confiscate any fireworks (with the exemption of those in Category F1) found in a person’s possession and that they are liable to prosecution. 

In addition, there is a specific offence under law for throwing any ignited fireworks in public places, gardaí said. 

It added that another exception to these laws is where a professional-type firework display is permitted under permit. 

“Apart from the risk of injury, fireworks can cause great distress and annoyance to elderly residents,” gardaí said. 

“They can set off intruder alarms, causing unnecessary extra demands on Garda resources. they can also cause great distress to family pets and animals,” it said. 

Gardaí added that fireworks are hazardous in that “there is always the possibility of outbreaks of fire in a property if fireworks such as ‘rockets’ continue to burn after landing”. 

Dublin City Council also warned of the dangers that come with using fireworks.

Unfortunately, each year our firefighters and paramedics are called to treat injuries caused by fireworks which have been used in a dangerous manner or have ignited prematurely. 

“It has to be remembered that these fireworks are effectively small explosives and meet no recognised safety standard, so the quality can fluctuate widely,” Dublin City Council said. 

“Fireworks can fail to ignite immediately and explode on inspection by the person lighting it, or a short fuse can cause the firework to explode before the person has retreated to a safe distance,” it added. 

Gardaí have appealed to parents to be mindful of their children using fireworks. 

“We ask that parents be responsible in ensuring that their children do not cause injury to either themselves or others on Halloween night. If you discover that your children have possession of bangers/fireworks, please take same from them,” gardaí said. 

“If anybody has information relating to the illegal sale of fireworks they should contact their local garda station or use the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.” 

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