Are Fireworks Legal in Ireland?
This is a question that we often hear asked especially this time of year, are fireworks legal in Ireland? Well the simple answer us yes BUT only under licence. But let’s find out a bit more about fireworks.
At the time of writing there are loud bangs resinating from outside my window and my two dogs are cracking up.
What are Fireworks?
Fireworks include items which burn and explode to give a loud noise and a visual effect. Examples include sparklers, bangers, fountains and rockets.
They’re dangerous in the wrong hands because all fireworks are designed either to explode (bangers, rockets, roman candles, shells) or burn at high temperature emitting sparks and other effects (sparklers, fountains) etc. It goes without saying that great care should be taken when using them. Many people are however under the impression that Category F1 fireworks, in particular, are completely harmless, this is not often the case.
In fact, a burning sparkler can get up to six times as hot as a hot pan of cooking oil, and the metal wire used for holding the sparkler can get red hot at the burning end. The misuse of sparklers are to blame for a great deal of hand burn injuries to children. Party poppers can also cause eye injuries if discharged at close proximity towards a persons face. That is why it is essential that all fireworks are properly supervised and used strictly in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and warnings to be found on the label or package.
There are 4 different categories of firwork and these are
Category F1 Firework
Category F2, F3 and F4 fireworks present a much greater hazard and noise level than those of Category F1. Examples include bangers, rockets, fountains, roman candles, shells and aerial wheels. These items will remain restricted in the State in terms of the sale to and use by the general public, and will only be available for use in organised displays by professional operators, as was the case for the past number of years.
What does the law say?
The Criminal Justice Act 2006 introduced new offences and penalties relating to illegal possession or misuse of fireworks:
It is an offence to throw an ignited firework at any person or property, and with the exception of low hazard fireworks;
It is an offence for any person to possess an unlicensed firework,
It is an offence for any person to possess an unlicensed firework with intent to sell or supply,
It is an offence to light unlicensed fireworks. The penalty for these offences is a fine of up to €10,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both. A
There are a number of further offences are also created under the new Pyrotechnic Regulations, including that of selling Fireworks to anyone aged under 12.
And please remember the animals. Every year thousands of pets will suffer as a result of fireworks being let off. Here are a few tips that may help,
- Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off
- Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start
- Close all windows and doors, and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
- Ensure dogs are wearing some form of easily readable identification (ID) – even in the house. They should have at least a collar and tag.
- Think about fitting pets with a microchip, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you
- Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
- Let your pet pace around, whine, miaow and hide in a corner if they want to. Do not try to coax them out – it’s just trying to find safety, and should not be disturbed.
- Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
- Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find they have been destructive or toileted after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
- Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car.
- Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.
Unfortunately stray animals sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks. If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local Gardai immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or alternatively report online here.
Please take precautions this year to ensure your pets stay safe, calm and remain indoors this Halloween so the festivities can be a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.