Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD, and spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD have jointly called on the Minister for Justice to clarify the start date for Operation Tombola, the nationwide Garda campaign, which prevents and detects the use of illegal fireworks in the run up to Halloween.
Teachta Kenny said:
“I wrote to the Garda Commissioner in August about a number of issues, including antisocial behaviour in urban centres, and the use of illegal fireworks across communities in Dublin and elsewhere.
“As part of the reply I received yesterday, An Garda Síochána informed me that Operation Tombola will commence in the coming weeks.
“This response is completely at odds with information supplied by the Justice Minister to my Sinn Féin colleague Mark Ward. Teachta Ward was informed that the Operation had commenced on August 26th as part of a response to a question put to the Minister for Justice.
“We need clarity immediately on this, as the illegal fireworks trade is just an additional scourge on communities already trying to cope with antisocial behaviour.
Teachta Ward said:
“Last year after intense pressure from Sinn Féin, Operation Tombola was brought forward by a month to begin on 4th September. During a debate I had last year with the Minister for Justice, she conceded that there may be a need to start it even earlier.
“I was angered to find out during a recent meeting I attended of the Joint Policing Committee in South Dublin County Council that Operation Tombola has not even commenced yet and was not due to commence until the 1st of October.
“So instead of bringing Operation Tombola forward, it is now starting over a month later than last year.
“This is simply not good enough and has left our communities feeling abandoned.
“The Minister for Justice informed me that Operation Tombola began on August the 26th . This is at odds with the information I received from the Joint Police Committee and the information received by my colleague Martin Kenny TD.”