91. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Justice if discussions are expected in the coming weeks with the Garda Commissioner on the plans of An Garda Síochána to ensure a safe Hallowe'en; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51093/21]


Deputy Heather Humphreys: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue regarding safety at Hallowe'en. I am very aware of the distressing impact the improper use and misuse of fireworks has on our communities. Every year, as Hallowe'en approaches, my Department runs a safety awareness campaign aimed at highlighting to the public the very real dangers of illegal fireworks and bonfires. As the Deputy may be aware, I launched this year's campaign, in collaboration with the ISPCA, Dublin Fire Brigade and An Garda Síochána, at the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre on 22 September. I am sure the Deputy will be aware of the risks posed by fireworks, particularly to children and animals. I thank the media because they have given it good coverage to make people aware of the dangers of fireworks that go wrong.
As Minister for Justice, it is important for me to be clear in saying that fireworks, because they are explosives, are regulated under national and EU legislation and can only be imported into the country under licence and stored and sold in accordance with explosives laws.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including operational policing matters. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. However, I am assured by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána will be working right across the country to keep people, including their colleagues in our front-line services, safe during the Hallowe'en period.
Additional efforts are being made by An Garda Síochána under Operation Tombola to combat the illegal importation, sale and use of fireworks and to address related public order and antisocial behaviour. This operation has an overt uniform presence and a covert element where appropriate to disrupt firework-related and other forms of antisocial behaviour.