Gardaí urge public to attend official bonfires

Gardaí urge public to attend official bonfires
The Olympic themed Bonfire in Togher burning as part of the Bonfire Night celebrations in Cork last year. Pic: Darragh Kane

Gardai are appealing for people to attend only authorised bonfires as part of Bonfire Night later this month, and to report any unofficial blazes that are being organised.

The popular celebration takes place every year on June 23 and traditionally sees people setting up their own bonfires – a dangerous practice which can be unsafe and can attract large amount of anti-social behaviour.

Last year, for example, in the days leading up to Bonfire Night, the fire service had to be called to a blaze in Glenamoy Park. When they arrived, the fire crew was attacked by a gang of youths who started to throw stones at them, and they were forced to withdraw.

Bonfire Night is also the busiest night of the year for the fire service here and sees the highest volume of calls.

Gardai have confirmed there will be a large police presence on the night, and that every call out the fire service goes on, the units will be accompanied by a squad car.

“We will have extra people on duty that night like we always do and we will have gardaí going with the fire service for every callout that night. Unfortunately, it has to be done because stones and bottles have been thrown at members of the fire service in the past, so for safety sake, we will have gardaí going with each unit,” said a Garda spokesperson.

“There will also be gardaí at all the planned events.” 

The spokesperson advised that people only attend authorised events on the night – those organised by Cork City Council.

This advice was echoed by Independent Cork City Councillor Mick Finn.

“From a safety point of view, for the young people involved, they should attend the official ones rather than creating their own ones. Because something is going to happen some year and someone is going to get injured by throwing aerosols or something into the fire,” he said.

“I think residents need to be vigilant if they see stocks of rubbish building up in the area they need to report it to the gardaí and they will clear it. I know it's an old tradition going back years, centuries even, to pagan times, but I think you have to move with the times as well. The scheduled ones run by the council are efficient, they're well run, they're great fun for the youngsters and that's the way they should be because some of them tend to develop into drinking parties. Then you have residents onto the council the following day to clean up the bonfires in the area. My message is that there are plenty of scheduled events and organised events by the council – attend those, support those, and report the illegal ones.”

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