Fire services across the country are preparing for a busy Halloween and are urging people to avoid illegal fireworks and bonfires.
Gardaí in Swords seized €5,000 worth of fireworks and sparklers on Saturday as similar operations take place across Ireland.
Dublin Fire Brigade Senior Officer Greg O’Dwyer told Late Breakfast with Clare McKenna people continue to use fireworks despite the risks.
“They are readily available on various black markets and across the border,” he said.
“What we really despair with is the amount of parents, responsible parents, that go across the border and pick up boxes just to give them to children.
“We just we see the consequences of this all the time.”
Yesterday, Gardaí in Swords executed a search under warrant of a property identified in relation to the sale of illegal fireworks, as part of ongoing Operation Tombola investigations.
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) October 29, 2023
He said it’s common to see fireworks going off in people’s pockets, particularly illegal ones that are not quality-checked.
“They just spiral out of control, and we’ve seen them going into open kitchen doors and windows, setting fire to the house,” he said.
“Just yesterday actually, a young child got their hands on fireworks, and they went off in the bathroom – the bathroom was just completely destroyed.”
People also often throw fireworks into bonfires and “shoot off in all directions”, according to Mr O’Dwyer.
“They come out like missiles and strike people in the face,” he said.
“We’ve seen some very horrific and life-changing accidents over the years.”
People should beware of what is put into bonfires.
“People go to bonfires and may not have been there for its constructions so they don’t know what’s in there,” Mr O’Dwyer said.
“Maybe gas cylinders or even some things like aerosol - when they hit a certain temperature and they explode, they do come out like a missile.
“Then the toxic odours from tyres or plastic – these are very problematic for people when there’s smoke coming out in residential areas.
“The damage to the environment as well - if it's on a public green, the grass itself can take a year to come back from the damage.”
Mr O’Dwyer pleaded with people to go to official firework displays organised or approved by local authorities.
“We want people to enjoy Halloween, we really do,” he said.
“We’re not the killjoys of Halloween – we want people to enjoy it safely and not to end up in the emergency department, which unfortunately a lot of people do.”