As in previous years during the run-up to Halloween, Mayo Garda is issuing a warning about the serious dangers associated with using fireworks.
Each year many children and young people suffer horrific injuries caused by fireworks, including burns, loss of fingers, and serious eye injuries.
It should be borne in mind by everyone that the sale, possession, or use of unlicensed fireworks in any place in this country is illegal.
It should also be noted that it is illegal to possess any fireworks that may have been legally purchased outside Ireland and brought back into this country. Many of the fireworks that are offered for sale illegally here have not passed any quality control tests and are possibly defective.
Gardaí in Mayo will confiscate any fireworks found in the possession of people who in turn will be liable to prosecution. In addition there is a specific offence under law for throwing any lit firework at a person or property.
A person can be fined up to €10,000 for possession of unlicensed fireworks and for igniting, throwing, or possession of unlicensed fireworks with intent to sell or supply, the penalties can be up to €10,000 and five years in jail.
The only exception to these laws is where a professional fireworks display is authorised under licence.
Apart from the risk of injury, fireworks can cause great distress and annoyance to elderly people, and they can set off intruder alarms. They can also cause great distress to family pets and farm animals. Finally, there is always the possibility of outbreaks of fire in property if fireworks continue to burn after landing and a number of buildings have been destroyed in the past.
“We ask parents to ensure that their children do not cause injury to either themselves or others during this Halloween. If you find that your children have bangers/fireworks please take possession of them and hand then into your local Garda station. Don’t ever buy fireworks for your children,” is the message from local gardaí.
Parent are being advised to be extra vigilant during this period and know where their children are at all times.
The gardaí in Mayo have made a number of seizures of fireworks over the past month but vigilance cannot be left to the gardaí alone and parents in particular, and adults in general, should ensure that children are aware of the very real dangers associated with fireworks.
“We want children to enjoy this special occasion as it should be enjoyed, in the traditional manner, as a family at home with their parents, and not in the wards of our hospitals with serious injuries.
“We want parents to go with their children when they go trick or treating, drive them or walk with them. Make sure they can be seen on the roads on these dark wet nights. The Halloween costumes are predominately black and hard for motorists to see. Place some reflective material on them and armbands should also be worn. A torch should be carried and used to allow motorists to see them,” is the advice from Castlebar Garda Station.
If you have any information relating to the illegal importation/sale/or use of fireworks contact any Garda station or use the Garda Confidential Line – telephone number 1800-666-111.
Parents are also being asked to be alert to their children throwing eggs and flour at passing cars as it is the parents who may be liable for damages if a crash is caused due to this activity. An appeal has also gone out to shop owners and supermarkets not to sell trays of eggs and flour to young people during this time.