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Public urged to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween

Public urged to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween


In the lead up to Halloween, Donegal County Council is taking the opportunity to remind the public to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.


“Halloween can be a lot of fun especially for our children and young people and while we want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe time, it is the time of year when we ask the community to remember that bonfires can cause serious damage and injuries both to our environment and to our health while illegal fireworks continue to present a serious danger” says Donegal County Council’s Litter Warden Brian McBrearty.


Brian McBrearty believes that the strong message sent out by the Council including the Donegal Fire Service over the last few years has resulted in a decrease in the number of bonfires and this he says is due to the continued support that the Council receives from communities across Donegal.


Bonfires were often built close to houses and other property and were the cause of serious damage and injuries particularly where the burning of highly combustible materials was taking place. 


“For the last number of years we have sent out a strong message about the dangers of bonfires not only in terms of community safety but also in terms of the environmental damage that bonfires can cause and we are pleased to see that the number of bonfires has significantly decreased in the last number of years” says Brian McBrearty.


“This is in no small way due to the great support that we have received from communities right across Donegal.  Traditionally wood and straw were used on bonfires but in recent times materials such as tyres, mattresses, furniture, plastics, metal and so on have been burned on bonfires. This type of activity is illegal.  It is also an offence to supply waste materials to parties collecting for ‘Bonfire Night’.” 


“The burning of waste such as rubber, aerosols, plastics, foam, mattresses, couches and household waste material in bonfires is very damaging to our health and environment. When waste materials are burned on a bonfire harmful dioxins are created and released into the air that we breathe."


“While the number of bonfires has decreased we will be continuing to monitor locations were waste materials have been supplied as bonfire material in the past and we are undertaking an audit of certain businesses to ensure that there is compliance under the relevant legislation and to ensure that waste materials are not supplied for burning on bonfires”.


Fireworks are illegal in Ireland

It is illegal to possess fireworks in Ireland that may have been legally purchased outside the country.  Illegal fireworks may not be manufactured to the appropriate safety standards and can ignite prematurely causing serious injury to the user or to others in the vicinity particularly children.


Members of the public are asked not to buy, use or supply fireworks and parents are requested to monitor their children and make sure they do not play with fireworks including bangers.  Every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life after using illegal fireworks.


Tips for a safe Halloween:


Parents, businesses and householders should not provide any materials for bonfires.


Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for use in a bonfire; many garage or garden shed items such as petrol, white spirits, diesel, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint, bottles and tyres are especially dangerous if set on fire.


Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or property.


Explain the dangers of illegal bonfires and fireworks to children and teenagers.


Keep pets indoors on Halloween night – they are sensitive to noise.


Respect the work of the Emergency Services, Council Staff and the Gardaí.


Contact the Fire Service by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.


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