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  • Northside West

Bonfire bedlam

Monday, 6th November, 2017 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Bonfire bedlam

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Finglas.

Bonfire bedlam

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Finglas.

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THE Northside air was thick with toxic smoke on Halloween night when dozens of dangerous, illegal bonfires were lit across several areas.

Despite Dublin City Council organising celebrations and firework displays in Finglas, Ballymun and Smithfield, firefighters were still called to over 300 fires, including 200 bonfires, across the city from 9am to 11pm.

Fire engines from Tara Street and North Strand were deployed to tackle a huge blaze on waste ground in the north inner city, and Dublin Fire Brigade was still dealing with the aftermath of fires in Finglas and Ballymun on November 1.

On Halloween night, bonfires were reported on a local soccer pitch near Lanesborough as well as on land around Ikea.

Three bonfires were reported close to St Joseph’s School in Ballymun and another off Main Street while three cars were also set on fire in the general area, as well as trees and bushes.

 

In Finglas, a bonfire posed an alarming threat to ESB wires and a separate blaze caused concern to residents around the Cappagh area. 

On Berryfield Drive, there was a large bonfire in the area as well as a fire in the middle of the road while wheelie bins were set alight on Wellmount Road.

There were also dozens of incidents in Dublin 15, including a large bonfire on a green space in Corduff as well as a smaller one across from the National Aquatic Centre.

Pallets were also set ablaze in Corduff while in the Ladyswell area two bonfires were reported, including one that was close to homes, and at least two vehicles were set on fire in the area.

There were also large bonfires in Sheepmoor and on green areas around the Clonsilla area.

In Ongar, bushes were set ablaze in two locations and a bonfire close to a local school caused concern.

Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock (FG) claimed levels of anti-social behaviour were out of control across the city.

“I’ve never had as many complaints in any year as I did last night in relation to fireworks, bangers, antisocial behaviour and dumped materials,” he said.

“It is quite clear that something is amiss this year in relation to the deterrence of using illegal fireworks and bangers.  

“Fire brigade officials confirmed to me that this was a busier year in their experience than any of the last five.

“Furthermore it is completely unacceptable that some fire crews were attacked when out doing their jobs.

“It’s clear that when it comes to fireworks and antisocial behaviour, we need far more robust enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Social Democrats representative for Castleknock and Blanchardstown, Aengus Ó Maoláin, is calling for fresh thinking on Halloween bonfire regulations.

“This year saw yet again an increase in the number of call outs by the fire brigade to illegal bonfires across the city, with at least 30 in Dublin 15 alone between dusk and midnight,” he said.

“Repeated efforts to stamp out and ban bonfires have clearly failed, and council staff and the Fire Brigade are being run off their feet dousing, and cleaning up after these bonfires.

“We ought to look at how Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes night) in England is handled, where community groups can get permits to hold safe, family-friendly bonfires to mark the tradition, without burning illegal and unsafe materials, or putting people’s safety at risk.

“Burning bonfires on Halloween, or Samhain, has been part of Irish culture for hundreds of years, and while safety and the atmosphere must be protected at all costs, this is an example where a little maturity and a new way of thinking would pay dividends.”

 

Gardai were called to assist firefighters in a number of locations. Council workers were kept busy cleaning up after Halloween.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here