Ahead of Halloween this year, Clare County Council is advising members of the public not to take part in any activities that are contrary to public health guidelines or measures under Level 5 of the Government’s Covid-19 plan, such as bonfire gatherings.
Given the current high level of risk associated with Covid-19, children and families should not move between houses to trick-or-treat in the way that traditionally happens at Halloween.
Clare County Council and Clare County Fire and Rescue Service are also 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.
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, Clare County Fire and Rescue Service.
“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,” Mr Kelly 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.
Cyril Feeney, Senior Engineer, Clare County Council, said: “Businesses and members of the public are requested to desist from supplying any waste material to persons who do not have a valid waste collection permit. Dealing with waste material on any other basis is an offence and can result in prosecution.
“There are significant risks arising from such bonfires, including the illegal nature of the activity, the adverse effects on the members of the local community, not to mention the negative effects on the general environment.”
Mr Feeney also emphasised that this year, in particular, bonfire gatherings should be avoided to comply with current public health guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Tips for a safe Halloween 2020:
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 email@example.com, 065-6846331 or visit www.clarecoco.ie.
Do not gather for bonfires, or move between houses trick-or-treating in the way that normally happens at Halloween.