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Halloween alarm Family's terror after firework posted through letterbox while children slept

This has been the second recorded incident in recent weeks

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Fireworks (stock)

Fireworks (stock)

Fireworks (stock)

Warnings have been issued on the dangers of fireworks after two separate incidents in Kilkenny city. 

Last night it was reported that a firework was posted through the letterbox of a home in Rosewood shortly after 9pm.

While the family were at home, with young children in bed at the time, they escaped harm.

However, this has been the second recorded incident in recent weeks.

The fire service were called after a firework was thrown into a house in McDonagh Street at 9.20pm on October 4.

According to the Kilkenny People, smoke damage was caused to the exterior of the property although nobody was injured in the attack.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone with information to contact them.

They also issued a general warning about the use of illegal fireworks.

“We are continuing to target the sale and supply of fireworks and to address anti-social behaviour in our communities,” they were quoted as saying.

“We want to remind the public about the dangers posed by fireworks. Each year, many people, suffer terrible injuries caused by fireworks. The sale, possession or use of fireworks in this country is illegal.

"Apart from the risk of injury, fireworks can cause great distress and annoyance to elderly residents. They can set off intruder alarms, causing unnecessary extra demands on Garda resources.

“They can also cause great distress to family pets and animals. Finally, there is always the possibility of outbreaks of fires in properties if fireworks continue to burn after landing.”

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Gardai recently seized €10,000 worth of fireworks in Balbriggan, north Dublin as they ramped up surveillance under the annual Operation Tombola crackdown.

Officers said they believe the fireworks that were discovered on Sunday, October 11, were to be used for sale and supply in the North Dublin area.

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Fireworks seized in Balbriggan

Fireworks seized in Balbriggan

Fireworks seized in Balbriggan

The high profile operation has ensured that illegal firework use has continued to remain low following several hundred seizures when their use was increasing year-on-year with a whopping 380 illegal explosives seized in 2009.

Last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height, a total of 289 seizures were made which is up from 2019's 206 seizures.

In 2018, there were 168 seizures, 186 in 2017 and 124 in 2016.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures for this year, which detail the first six months, show that 16 seizures have been made.

Legislation came into effect in 2006, which made it an offence to possess a firework with intent to sell or supply, without a licence, light unlicensed fireworks, throw or direct a lit firework at any person or property.

The seizures are made across four regions which include the Dublin Metropolitan Region, Eastern, Western and Southern.

A CSO spokesperson said:“The figures show that the use of fireworks has continued to be targeted by authorities for illegal use and the statistics reflect that due to them remaining lower than their height in 2009.

“Each year it’s reasonably predictable that the number of fireworks seized starts to rise in quarter three of any year and reaches a peak in October and November - the last quarter.

“Data is sourced from PULSE, the crime incident Garda database.”

Since March 2018, the CSO has applied a categorisation of Statistics Under Reservation to Recorded Crime statistics to inform users that the Office has concerns about the quality of the data source.

Statistics compiled from the source may understate or overstate the actual occurrence of reported crime and may be subject to revision in subsequent publications.

Operation Tombola which is in operation in the DMR in the lead up to and over the Halloween period is designed to combat the sale, supply and possession of fireworks and anti-social behaviour. This year it started on August 26.

A Garda spokesperson added: “Operation Tombola will deliver a range of initiatives to tackle the sale of fireworks, preventing associated public disorder and anti-social behaviour through the incremental deployment of overt and covert Garda resources.

“Gardai as per previous years, deploy significant resources to support and achieve tangible outcomes this year.

“Officers, as per previous years, collaborate and liaise with Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) and the local authorities to maximise public safety and ensure appropriate measures are put in place to prevent and detect the sale and use of illegal fireworks and activities associated with the preparation of unsupervised and unplanned bonfires.”

Gardaí attached to each Community Policing Unit engage with youths in the lead up to Halloween in various for a such as primary Schools, Youth Diversion Groups as various other local forums.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Humphreys launched a Fireworks Awareness Raising Campaign for this year in collaboration with the ISPCA, Dublin Fire Brigade and Gardai.

Serious penalties can be imposed for the misuse of illegal fireworks with fines of up to €10,000 or five years imprisonment, or both, can apply.

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny said: “Illegal fireworks trade is just an additional scourge on communities already trying to cope with antisocial behaviour.”

Deputy Kenny argued that Operation Tombola should start earlier than it does in August/September to stamp out firework use even further.

So far this month, notable fireworks seizures were made in Wicklow, Dublin, Louth and Tipperary.

In Tipperary gardai made a significant seizure of illegal fireworks worth a whopping €1,000 when officers from Clonmel Garda Station discovered the explosives during a search in the Oldbridge area.

“Gardaí are reminding the public that these items are illegal and dangerous,” they posted on the An Garda Síochána Tipperary Facebook page.

“Gardaí are continuing to target the sale and supply of fireworks and to address anti-social behaviour in our communities as part of Operation Tombola. Let’s all work together to have a safe and fun Halloween!”

People have reacted in favour of the initiative with one person responding: “Hopefully more of this and patrols in the local community. Two hours of fireworks going off in our estate. Called the gardai twice finally came two hours later when lads got off with fireworks in their backpacks. So dangerous for young children playing in the estate.”

Dublin Fire Brigade, gardaí, the ISPCA and the Minister for Justice recently issued a joint warning about the dangers of using fireworks this Halloween and urged people not to buy or sell them.

Speaking at an event at the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre, Minister Heather Humphreys said significant penalties of fines of up to €10,000 or up to five years in prison can be imposed on those selling or using illegal fireworks if convicted.

Chief Fire Officer in Dublin City Council Dennis Keeley said colleagues have seen first-hand the catastrophic consequences and long-lasting devastation fireworks can have.

He strongly advised people not to use them for their own safety and the safety of the community.

The minister also said a media campaign highlighting the dangers would take place on local radio stations in the capital, as well as across social media and Spotify.

Ms Humphreys also said: "Our grandparents, elderly friends and those with sensory issues have faced a particularly difficult time over the last 18 months. Fireworks going off in proximity to their homes causes unnecessary additional distress."

Gardaí say 'Operation Tombola', which is designed to prevent and detect the sale and supply of fireworks, began last month in response to concerns and will continue up to October 31.

They have also said they will be deploying the Divisional Public Order Units on Halloween night and that social media will be monitored for any information regarding anti-social behaviour and the use of fireworks.

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