By Cate McCurry, PA
Gardaí have warned that people caught with illegal fireworks will be brought to court, as the force is to step up its searches in border areas.
It comes as the Department of Justice launched its annual fireworks campaign at the gardaí headquarters in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Anne Marie McMahon, deputy commissioner policing and security, reminded the public that it is illegal to buy and sell fireworks.
People have been urged to think of elderly and vulnerable people in local communities, as well as pets and animals.
Launching our annual fireworks campaign in @gardainfo HQ with help from a few friends!
Fireworks are illegal and dangerous.
Do not buy, sell or use them - think of elderly and vulnerable people in your community, pets, other animals and livestock.
Stay safe this Halloween. pic.twitter.com/LAReQPHT1U
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) October 6, 2022
The deputy commissioner warned that people can get seriously injured from handling fireworks, with incidents of people losing limbs and damaging their eyes.
“We want everyone to enjoy Halloween and be safe and it you want to see fireworks, go to an organised legal event,” she said.
“The message from An Garda Síochána is that we know that from our experience that people get injured, sometimes losing limbs, damage to their eyes, really serious injuries.
“We know this happens every year despite all the warnings.
“Please be safe and do not have fireworks in your possession.
“It is illegal in this country and you are liable to prosecution if you are found to be in possession of fireworks.
“We will be proactively searching for fireworks, we have some seized already.
“That will continue right over the next six weeks.
“We will gather intelligence in relation to fireworks in addition to seizing them and preparing files for the DPP.”
She added: “As part of Operation Tombola, we will be having searches right around the country, including the border area.”
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that fireworks can have a negative impact on communities.
“We want to make people aware that it is a criminal offence to buy or sell fireworks,” the Fine Gael minister said.
“Particularly vulnerable persons, particularly people living on their own, the impact on animals.
“I am asking people to consider that, particularly young people as we come up to Halloween.
“Also, to consider the first responders, be it the fire brigade or ambulance service who have to come out and often deal with the very difficult situations with accidents but themselves who often targeted.
“I would ask people to respect their first responders and think of your community and those who might be vulnerable.”
Dr Cyril Sullivan, chief executive of ISPCA (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), urged pet owners to keep animals indoors during the Halloween period.
Dr Sullivan was joined at the garda headquarters by dogs, Danny and Jess, who are currently in the care of the ISPCA and are looking for a home.
“It’s case that we really want people to enjoy their weekend and enjoy their Halloween.
“It is the busiest night of the year for emergency services and it is also a very dangerous and fearful night for our animals,” he said.
“The ISCPCA message is simple; if you can, keep your animal in on Halloween night.
“If you are going out, keep your animal in with a family member or with a neighbour.
“If you have to go out and have to bring your animal with you, we recommend that dogs are microchipped, so if anything goes wrong and dogs are lost, they can be tracked down.
“We want our pets and animals to have a safe and happy Halloween.”