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Appeal for safe and responsible use of fireworks this Halloween

28 October, 2008

Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler has appealed for the safe and responsible use of fireworks this Halloween. He has also welcomed the PSNI initiative to clamp down on the illegal use and sale of fireworks. The PSNI will increase the number of high visibility patrols in hotspot areas aimed at preventing criminal damage and anti social behaviour.

Paul Butler said

'There has been an irresponsible use of fireworks over the last number of years all of which has led to an increase in the fear of crime in the community. There has also been an increase in the sale of illegal fireworks and in particular bangers which are illegal. Sadly we have seen the outworkintgs of this type of activity in tragic circumstances over the weekend.

New legislation that would restrict the use of fireworks to public fireworks displays should be introduced to ensure the community is safe from the illegal and irresponsible use of fireworks'.

'New legislation should be introduced to ban the sale of fireworks to the public. The present law is not working and there is a need for radical changes to be made, particularly to stop the illegal sale of fireworks. In the last 5 years nearly 300 hundred people have been injured by fireworks. The vast majority of those injured were aged under 18 and male. These statistics underline the need for urgent changes in the present legislation.'

Paul Butler continued

'Every year many people dread Halloween because of the huge amount of fireworks that will be used irresponsibly. The reality is that fireworks are causing serious injuries, and there will be a certain degree of fear in the community on Halloween night, when the use fireworks will unfortunately result in people, and particularly children, being maimed and injured. Many people that I have spoken to want to see an end to this yearly ordeal.'

'I believe new legislation should be introduced that encourages more public firework displays. Children and their families should be encouraged to enjoy fireworks at public fireworks displays conducted by professionals rather than purchase fireworks for home or private use. In America for example there are many states that have banned the sale of fireworks to members of the public because of the huge amount of injuries that they have caused.'

'The reality is that thousands of fireworks are being sold illegally. In many cases the people selling these fireworks are deliberately targeting young people. In turn a lot of young people are using fireworks unsupervised and irresponsibly resulting in many cases in serious injuries. I call on those who are engaged in this type of activity to stop and reflect on how their actions can cause serious injuries and harm.'

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