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Fireworks ban in the North could help end misery here, says TD

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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and DFB Chief Fire Officer Denis Keeley highlight the issue of illegal fireworks

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and DFB Chief Fire Officer Denis Keeley highlight the issue of illegal fireworks

Colin Keegan

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and DFB Chief Fire Officer Denis Keeley highlight the issue of illegal fireworks

Banning the sale of fireworks could be proposed in the North to help ease the nightmare caused in the Republic by the mini-explosives.

Sinn Féin deputy Mark Ward made the suggestion as he highlighted his party's Dáil motion aimed at tackling the misuse of fireworks in the Republic.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said he wants "joined-up thinking" between gardaí and the PSNI to halt the spread of fireworks across the border. Asked how this would work given that they can be legally sold in the North, he replied: "I don't know".

Tactic

"That's up to the guards to have that conversation, to communicate with each other and to come up with some tactic that will stop the fireworks from coming down to the 26 counties."

He was asked if Sinn Féin would use its role in the Northern Executive to outlaw the sale of fireworks there.

"It's something we could bring to the Executive and I'm sure they'll discuss that if that needs to be," Mr Ward said.

Asked if it was likely to happen, he said: "That'd be legislation that needs to change so I'm sure it's something that could be brought forward and could be discussed and a decision could be made at the Executive on that." He said the issue is "causing fear in communities" and fireworks are only a symptom of the "bigger problem" of anti-social behaviour.

He claimed one reason is a reduction in the number of community gardaí and restrictions on them working after 7pm. Justice Minister Helen McEntee has admitted she does not know why there has been an increase in the misuse of illegal fireworks this year.

"A huge amount of work is under way by gardaí to identify why there has been a surge in fireworks in the lead up to Halloween," the minister said.

"Unfortunately, this year we have seen an increase in the use of fireworks - the misuse of fireworks, I should say - and this is something gardaí are investigating," she said.

Incidents

"We don't know why there is that increase. We know it's not just in Ireland, it's across the globe. But the gardaí will continue to do their job in trying to prevent people from selling them, using them and hopefully preventing any incidents."

Ms McEntee said there have 52 seizures of fireworks this year, more than this time in previous years. She said there are no plans to legalise fireworks in Ireland.