Gardaí and plastic surgeons call for greater parental supervision to avoid the horrific injuries suffered by children at Halloween.
There has been a noted rise in the number of injuries caused by children using fireworks during Halloween celebrations in recent years.
Noeleen Finnegan's young daughter Rachel almost lost three fingers when a banger she was holding went off in her hand.
Emergency surgery fortunately saved her fingers, Rachel Finnegan's message to other children who are thinking of buying fireworks this Halloween is to be as careful as possible, and
Let their Mas or Das light them, or someone older, or they shouldn’t have them at all.
Consultant plastic surgeon at Temple Street Children's Hospital Seamus Ó Riain who has operated on many children with fireworks injuries urges parents to be vigilant at all times,
Bangers are very very serious explosive devices, they’re not toys.
Fireworks are illegal under Irish law, and may only be purchased under a special licence from the Department of Justice. The reality is they are readily available for sale around the country, at affordable prices. One dealer on Henry Street in Dublin city centre says,
The only reason I sell these is to make a few bob.
In spite of the fact that Gardaí have seized £65,000 worth of fireworks this year, they are still unable to control the problem.
Inspector John Farrelly says that while many young people purchase bangers and fireworks with the consent of their parents they still need to be supervised while using them. The rise in the numbers of injuries in recent years means that,
We need everybody concerned in relation to fireworks to be responsible.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Willie Fagan says that legalising some fireworks should be considered to regulate what is a dangerous trade, as this would provide standards in relation to fireworks and standards relating to how they are used.
In the meantime however, it seems that illegal fireworks are here to stay, and
Extreme vigilance is the advice again this Halloween.
This report for 'Nationwide’ was broadcast on 27 October 1995. The reporter is Teresa Mannion.