Kilkenny people told to 'consider frontline services' before lighting Halloween fireworks

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Kilkenny people told to 'consider frontline services' before lighting Halloween fireworks

Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, has today asked anyone tempted to use fireworks this Halloween to remember workers at the frontline of dealing with Covid-19 as well as vulnerable members of the community.

Ms McEntee was launching the Department of Justice’s annual fireworks awareness campaign, which seeks to highlight the potential injuries and damage they can cause.

The Minister also noted the severe sentences people can face if convicted of illegally buying, selling or using fireworks. Ms McEntee said:

“The penalties go right up to fines of €10,000 and 5 years in prison. These penalties are high because the dangers are so serious.”

The Department of Justice will in the coming weeks roll out targeted social media adverts aimed at younger people who may be thinking of using fireworks.

But the Minister, who noted the clear increase in fireworks incidents over the past number of weeks, said it is especially important that emergency services are not put under further pressure this year.

“This year, more than ever before, we need to remember our frontline workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty since the start of the pandemic.  We asked them to put their lives on the line in the battle against Covid-19.

“We owe it to them this Halloween to ensure that emergency rooms are not filled with preventable but serious injuries, caused by the use of illegal fireworks. This would add unnecessary pressure.

“Equally, An Garda Síochána, our fire services and our ambulance services are helping our communities tackle the pandemic and should be allowed focus on that vital task.

“Let’s not add to the problems they already face.”

The Minister asked people to again remember others in their community this Halloween.

“We know that the illegal use of fireworks can be distressing for many people. We are asking people to stop and think of the impact fireworks can have on those living in their neighbourhoods, especially the fear they cause for older residents or vulnerable people, not to forget the distressing impact they have on pets.

“We have already asked so much of our older citizens throughout this pandemic. They have cocooned and restricted their movements – and they do not need the extra worry of fireworks going off near their homes.”

The Minister confirmed her Department would continue to support the work of An Garda Síochána in this area.

“Fireworks are not only dangerous in untrained and unlicensed hands - they are illegal. Fireworks are explosives, explosives which can maim and even kill.

“I have spoken with the Garda Commissioner and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent the illegal sale and use of fireworks. The Commissioner has assured me that measures are already being implemented by An Garda Síochána to deal with the issues arising from the use of illegal fireworks and associated public disorder and anti-social behaviour.

“Every year ‘Operation ‘Tombola’ is undertaken by An Garda Síochána to address all aspects associated with the policing of the Halloween period. The 2020 operation began over two weeks ago in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in response to an increase in unlicensed fireworks use.

“We all have a part to play in keeping our communities safe this Halloween. Don’t buy or set off illegal fireworks. Don’t put our frontline services under pressure. Don’t cause undue concern to elderly neighbours.

“If we work together and avoid creating extra problems we can all enjoy Halloween.”

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