Dáil Éireann - Volume 607 - 11 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Garda Operations.
Mr. Curran Mr. Curran
378. Mr. Curran asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the way in which he proposes to tackle the importation and sale of illegal fireworks; if there is a public record of illegal fireworks seizures by the Garda and subsequent arrests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27990/05]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
 Mr. McDowell: The Explosives Act 1875 provides for the control of the importation, manufacture, storage and sale of fireworks. Last February, I published a document on fireworks policy and initiated a process of consultation with a view to bringing forward proposals for amending and strengthening the provisions in the 1875 Act. My Department has received a wide range of submissions in response to the consultation document and these are being examined.
It is already clear from the submissions received that, among the options for change outlined in the consultation document, there is a general acknowledgement of the need to strengthen the enforcement provisions in the 1875 Act. Accordingly, I propose to take the opportunity presented by the Criminal Justice Bill 2004, which is before the House, to bring forward, on Committee Stage, amendments to provide for new offences governing the misuse of fireworks in public places and an offence of possession of illegally imported fireworks with intent to supply. I also propose to significantly increase penalties governing the illegal importation, sale and use of fireworks.
In so far as the seizure of fireworks is concerned, the Garda authorities make every effort to identify persons involved in the illegal importation and sale of all types of fireworks. Where necessary, specific policing plans are put in place in areas where particular problems arise. These plans include intelligence gathering on known dealers and suppliers and, once identified, putting plans in place to arrest them and seize their stocks of illegal fireworks. Each year leading up to Hallowe’en, special efforts are made to combat the illegal importation of fireworks. This year an intelligence-led operation called Operation Tombola, which aims to prevent and detect the organised importation for sale of fireworks in the lead up to Hallowe’en, has been put in place by the Garda Commissioner.
Over the last five years such operations have resulted in the following seizures:
All fireworks seized are forfeited by the person importing them and destroyed in accordance with the provisions of the Explosives Act 1875.
Dáil Éireann 607 Written Answers. Garda Operations.