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border patrol ‘Ammo Box’ that shoots 64 individual rockets among raft of illegal fireworks coming from North

Cut-price fireworks finding their way across the Border despite reported Brexit shortages

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Fireworks like the Ammo Box that shoots 64 individual rockets are being sold for as little as €4 in a string of huts close to the Border.

While fireworks are illegal in the Republic, people have bought supplies in Northern Ireland over recent weeks despite reported shortages linked to Brexit.

On Thursday, the sundayworld.com watched as a steady stream of southern-registered cars stopped off at locations near Newry to stock up on fireworks.

On sale, only an hour from Dublin, was a wide selection of fireworks, including “screamers”, which cost €3 or two packets for €5. Another product known as Skybolt, which contains seven rockets, was priced at €8.

Roman candles, a hand-held firework, which come in packs of 20, cost €30.

While the stalls are doing nothing illegal in selling the fireworks, those who bring them back across the Border are risking prosecution.

The sellers are familiar with customers from the Republic at this time of year.

All the fireworks are bagged in black sacks. We observed one seller advising a customer to conceal them in the spare wheel compartment of their car.

“Every second or third customer is from the south during Halloween,” said one seller.

Another said: “God bless the Common Travel Area.”

Last month, gardaí launched a nationwide policing plan for the detection and prevention of the sale of fireworks.

However, a spokesperson said that while there has been a clampdown, “at this moment in time, there are no running figures in relation to the seizures”.

Last year, gardaí seized fireworks with a value of €35,490.

Charges or summons were preferred in nine incidents where fireworks were seized and there were youth referrals in 42 incidents.

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This was an increase from 2019, when fireworks worth around €31,000 were seized.

Chief Fire Officer of the Dublin Fire Brigade, Dennis Keeley, said the number of calls has reduced so far compared with last year, but tomorrow night is always one of the busiest for the emergency services.

Mr Keeley noted that crews are dealing with the dual challenge of fireworks and bonfires.

“With respect to injuries, we get more calls associated with fireworks. However, from an environmental perspective, bonfires are equally as harmful,” he said.

Mickey Larkin, a Sinn Féin councillor in Armagh, said there needs to be closer North-South cooperation so that fireworks are easier to police.

“There needs to be some sort of cross-border cooperation in relation to drawing the legislation closer together,” he said.

He also questioned whether mounting operations to seize fireworks from individuals was a good use of garda resources.

“If the gardaí are seizing fireworks from people who are going home to use them responsibly in their own garden and not causing a nuisance, is it really a good use of resources to put so much effort into seizures?” Mr Larkin added.

“It’s like harking back to the days when buses from Dundalk and Drogheda would be stopped at the border and there would be seizures of washing powder and alcohol.”

Dublin City Council has urged families to stay away from fireworks.

A spokesperson said that each year Accident and Emergency departments are “filled with children with painful injuries as a result of the misuse of fireworks and bonfires”.

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