Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has urged the public to act responsibly and to stay safe this Halloween weekend.
Last month, Teachta Ward called on all TDs to stand up for communities and support Sinn Féin’s call for increased investment to combat anti-social behaviour and the misuse of fireworks. This call fell on deaf ears with government parties.
Speaking today, Teachta Ward said: “Halloween is a fun time but also a time to act responsibly. As well as the lingering environmental impact, the cost that some Halloween activities, such as bonfire clean-ups, place on our councils is immense.
“Our emergency services are already stretched and under-resourced. Any additional pressure on their resources over Halloween could impact public safety.
“Last month I had a motion defeated by government parties that would have increased investment to combat anti-social behaviour and the misuse of fireworks.
“This is an annual issue across the state in the weeks leading up to Halloween, but this year it started earlier and in some areas as far back as mid-July.
“The misuse of fireworks has been an issue in many areas for the past number of weeks and months, particularly in urban areas of Dublin and Cork.
“Cuts to Garda numbers on the beat, and community Gardai, have exacerbated this issue. The Sinn Féin motion sought increased Garda resources, including a minimum of 800 new recruits to the force per annum, with priority deployment in community safety.
“This call fell on deaf ears with the government parties.
“In addition to the traditional challenges, we have also seen the unscrupulous act of unregulated waste collectors using bonfires in our communities as a way of dumping material they have collected.
“There has also been an increase in people dumping household waste on bonfires. All of this needs to stop – the impact it has on our communities in the weeks and months after Halloween is devastating.
“It is very natural that people will be excited about Halloween. But I am asking that people be mindful of their communities and emergency services, and recognise that many people are even more isolated now due to Covid-19 and fearful of some Halloween activities.
“Please enjoy the occasion – but stay safe and stay apart.”