Council warns against disposal of waste during Halloween

Council warns against disposal of waste during Halloween


The fire service responded to 19 bonfire and backyard burning incidents last Halloween – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Clare County Council is urging members of the public and businesses not to supply any waste material to persons who do not hold a valid waste collection permit.

The call comes in advance of the Halloween period, which traditionally has been used by some people to illegally dispose of waste material on bonfires.

Clare County Fire and Rescue Service responded to 19 bonfire and backyard burning incidents last Halloween at an estimated cost of €24,500. 5 of the 19 incidents related to household rubbish being burned in public areas. 1 incident related to trees being set on fire near a school. The remaining 13 incidents related to bonfires in green areas in Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush and Shannon.

The uncontrolled burning of waste, particularly in bonfires, is illegal and releases toxic pollutants into the air, which are known to be damaging to our health and environment.  Burning of waste in this manner is illegal under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, and The Waste Management Acts, 1996-2008.  Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property.

“Halloween is one the busiest times of the year for the fire services and responding to bonfire call outs creates a strain on existing resources.  I would like people to be aware of the fire safety hazards that arise from illegal bonfires, where the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or death,” said Adrian Kelly, Chief Fire Officer.

“Unfortunately, we have experienced anti-social behaviour on a small number of occasions when attending these fires – I would appeal to people to respect the role of the firefighters in this regard and let them carry out their duty in a safe manner,” he added.

Members of public are also advised not to buy, use or supply fireworks.  Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children. Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks.  Throughout the country, every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life, after using illegal fireworks.

In the period before and during Halloween, County Council and Clare County Fire and Rescue Service will be assisted by An Garda Síochána to closely monitor the situation around the county.

Tips for a safe Halloween 2017:

  • If you see material such as pallets, tyres, old furniture or other combustible materials or waste being hoarded in advance of Halloween please contact Clare County Council’s waste enforcement section on,  065-6821616 or visit
  • 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.
  • Parents, business and householders should not provide any materials for bonfires.
  • Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or property.
  • Contact the Fire Brigade by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.

*Under the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations, 2007-2008, all persons engaged in waste collection must hold a valid waste collection permit. Any person wishing to confirm the legitimacy of a waste collector should ask the collector for their waste collection permit number and proceed to check it on the National Waste Collection Office website, or, alternatively, contact their relevant Local Authority’s waste enforcement section.  Be aware that it is a criminal offence to give your waste to any individual who does not hold a current and valid waste collection permit.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.