‘Like a war zone’ – fireworks misery as Halloween fest axed

by Rachel Darcy

Dublin’s Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ events are set to be cancelled due to concerns over social distancing – as residents across the city are besieged by fireworks.

Dublin City Council has already decided that traditional organised gatherings will not be feasible this year in light of Covid-19 public health guidelines.

Instead the local authority says they will have to be replaced by “environmental initiatives”, community engagement projects, and “virtual” festivals.

DCC assistant chief executive Brendan Kenny said parades, funfairs and fireworks displays, which have helped curb illegal bonfires, would not go ahead as normal.

At a council meeting he conceded: “The reality is there will be disorganised events and they will be worse.

“At the same time it would be really difficult to for the city council to have an organised event, and if something were to happen as a result, to have to take responsibility for that.”

Mr Kenny said the council would be working to develop some activities which would not involve crowds gathering.

Cllr Daithí Doolan (SF), who represents Ballyfermot and Drimnagh, warned: “If you cancel what is a positive diversionary activity you create a vacuum that will be filled with negative dangerous activities that will put lives at risk.”

Meanwhile residents in Finglas and Ballymun are calling for a dedicated garda operation to clamp down on the use of illegal fireworks. 

Locals report bangers and rockets are being let off nightly, scaring dogs and children, with some terrified residents afraid to leave their homes.

Widespread issues have also been reported in Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Ballyfermot despite the fact that Halloween is still six weeks away. 

One resident told Dublin Gazette: “I’m afraid to bring the dog out past a certain hour, and in some cases he won’t go out at all anymore, even for a wee.

“I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by bangs that almost sound like gunshots, it’s like living in a war zone some nights.”

Fianna Fáil TD, Paul McAuliffe, said: “I have heard some harrowing stories of fireworks being deliberately launched at people and pets.

“We have the problem every year but it seems to be starting earlier each year and that means an anxious time for weeks before Halloween.

“Dublin already seems awash with fireworks, what will it be like when we reach the end of October?”

Gardai confirmed they had received reports about the illegal use of fireworks and encouraged anyone with information to their supply to contact them.

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