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'They can do real damage': People warned against use of fireworks ahead of Halloween season

PEOPLE ARE BEING warned of the significant distress fireworks can cause vulnerable people, particularly elderly people and those with sensory issues, along with animals, in the lead up to Halloween. 

Minister of State James Browne launched an awareness campaign today urging against the misuse of fireworks, alongside An Garda Síochána, the ISPCA, Irish Guide Dogs for the Bllind and Dublin Fire Brigade. 

This year’s campaign focusses on the significant distress that fireworks can cause vulnerable people in our communities. 

Fireworks can also cause great harm and stress to family pets, guide dogs and assistance dogs. 

As of 17 September, 38 fireworks incidents have been recorded by An Garda Síochána this year. 

In total last year, 158 such incidents were recorded. 

“As we head into the run-up to Halloween, I would like to urge everyone to refrain from purchasing or using illegal fireworks,” Browne said. 

“When misused, they are a nuisance to our communities, but they can also have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of some more vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly and people with sensory challenges,” he said. 

Speaking at the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre in Marino this afternoon, Browne said: “We know how many people can be seriously injured, losing fingers, losing limbs and losing other parts of themselves every year.”

Browne noted that the use of fireworks is a “very serious criminal offence” and that “people can face up to five years imprisonment and heavy fines”. 

“We’re asking people once again, please don’t use these fireworks. They are dangerous.”

The Minister added: “These are explosives, they can do real damage.”

Tim O’Mahoney, chief executive of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, said in a statement that every year his team is “faced with the heartbreak of seeing guide dogs and assistance dogs traumatised from the impact of fireworks”. 

“Whilst our dogs are highly trained to cope with many situations, if a dog has an experience that goes beyond a normal level of stress, such as a firework exploding close to them, this can overly sensitise the dogs, similar to PTSD in humans,” he said.