Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 18 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Criminal Prosecutions.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
Ms Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prosecutions and convictions for possession of fireworks in the past three years for which figures are available; and the level of Garda activity in enforcing the law per Garda division in this regard in the run-up to Halloween. [33372/06]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: I am informed by the Garda authorities that from 2003 to date in 2006 there have been 11 proceedings commenced, with no convictions recorded, for offences under the Explosives Act, 1875 relating to fireworks. The Explosives Act, 1875 has been amended under Part 6 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006 which came into effect on 1 August, 2006.
The provisions of Part 6 make it an offence to ignite a firework in a public place or to throw an ignited firework at a person or property. It also makes it an offence for a person to possess a firework for the purpose of selling it or otherwise supplying it without an import licence. In addition Part 6 provides for an increase in the penalties for the misuse of fireworks.
Operation Tombola, the annual Garda operation to combat the illegal sale of fireworks, was launched in September this year. Under this Operation each Assistant Commissioner in conjunction with their senior management teams put initiatives in place, based on information and intelligence available, in each Garda Division to prevent and detect the sale and organised importation of fireworks, particularly in the lead up to Halloween. All operational Gardaí, together with dedicated resources specifically deployed for this Operation, are tasked with preventing and detecting such offences.
To date under Operation Tombola there have been thirty seizures of fireworks, with a total value of €86,966. Over the last five years similar operations have resulted in significant seizures of illegally imported fireworks with an estimated value of over €2 million.
I am confident that with the introduction of the new offences and new penalties the Garda operations will be even more successful in combating the illegal importation, sale and use of fireworks.
 My Department is currently running a nationwide advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of fireworks and the new increased penalties for their illegal use. This advertising campaign will run up to Halloween.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Criminal Prosecutions.