Safety First This Halloween

No Tricks, Just Treat Your Neighbours With Respect This Weekend

by Rose Barrett
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Halloween, bonfire

Halloween festivities have already kicked off with the sound of bangers and illegal fireworks terrorising elderly residents and domestic pets across Dublin.

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB), An Garda Síochána and the ISPCA have collaborated together to launch an awareness campaign on the misuse of illegal fireworks and bonfires.

With the increase of organised events by Dublin’s four local authorities for the Halloween period, there has been a significant decrease in the number of injuries. 

However, both the ISPCA and the DSPCA warn this is still the worst and most terrifying period for pets and livestock.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: “The use of fireworks can cause fear and distress to elderly family members, neighbours, people with sensory challenges and other vulnerabilities.

“This is without even considering the serious dangers associated with illegal firework use, not only to those handling illegal fireworks, but also to innocent bystanders.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Greg O’Dwyer commented: Over the years, our firefighters and paramedics have had to deal with some horrific injuries caused by illegal fireworks, whether it’s a firework going off in some young person’s pocket and severely burning their leg or exploding in their hands.

“This can cause disfigurement to their fingers,” he said “Or fireworks can shoot out as  projectiles from illegal bonfires, striking onlookers in the face.”

These potential injuries can and have been caused by illegal fireworks resulting in life-changing injuries, or worse, he warned.

The increase in the number of officially organised firework events provide a fun environment for all to enjoy in a safe and controlled manner, said Officer O’Dwyer. 

“We urge all parents and young people to check the websites of their local authorities and community groups to seek out safe and enjoyable events around the Halloween period.”

Apart from the horrendous injuries suffered over the years including burns, loss of limbs and eyesight, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, Anne Marie McMahon stated members of An Garda Síochána face serious challenges at this time of year in their efforts to keep Dublin communities safe. “We are reminding the public that fireworks are dangerous and illegal in Ireland except under licence.”

Those found in possession of fireworks will be liable to prosecution and all fireworks will be confiscated.

“We are asking anyone with information related to the illegal use or sale of fireworks to contact their local garda station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.”

Tips on Animal Safety

Gillian Bird, Head of Education and Media with the DSPCA stated the best way to protect and see terrified lost animals returned home is to ensure all dogs and cats are microchipped. 

“Make sure they are registered properly with a data base. Check – this will tell you what database your cat or dog is registered on, do ring and update your information or address if necessary (if you’ve moved house, or changed mobile number).

“Too many animals get scared or lost during the Halloween period,” she noted. 

“Make sure to keep your pet indoors or in a safe enclosed area. If you let them out for a short break, make sure the side gate is locked, and there are no gaps in the hedge or yard fence.”

When taking pets out for walks, she advised it should be done earlier in the day when fireworks are less likely to go off.

“Make sure their collars and leads are secure. Tighten the collar if possible,  during this vulnerable time. If children are collecting firewood for a bonfire, remind them not to take them from hedges and fences – the timber could be stopping horses or livestock from wandering onto busy roads!”

Horses and livestock are equally terrified by screaming fireworks and bangers, she added. 

“Remember also that chocolates and sweets are given to children, they’re not suitable for pets! They can make dogs ill and often wrappers and lolly pop sticks are swallowed by excited pets which can cause problems.

“If your pet is especially nervous, seek veterinary advice” she concluded.


Happy Halloween, stay safe and have fun!

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