Saturday, 18th November 2017
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"Where are your teenagers? Do they know the dangers of fireworks and firecrackers?" asks Cllr Eddie Mulligan, after reporting two extremely dangerous incidents. One in a packed John Robert’s Square, on the evening of Saturday 28th October and another on Tuesday 31st October, in the Ballinakill/Dunmore Road area of the City.

Cllr Mulligan has reported that whilst walking, with his eight year old daughter, through John Roberts Square, towards The Book Centre and passing the coffee Kiosk. A significant number of loitering teenagers, in a large group, deliberately set off a firecracker or firework very close to him. He also witnessed, at a similar time on Friday evening (27th October), that Gardaí had to be called to disperse large numbers of teenagers also engaging in anti-social behaviour.

According to Cllr Mulligan the lit firework, this was set off behind him, shot across the ground, just missing a family group of shoppers. Spinning wildly and sparking profusely, missing Cllr Mulligan’s daughter’s leg by less than a foot, before extinguishing with a loud bang in the proximity of some elderly members of the public, approximately 20 yards away. Cllr Mulligan’s daughter was so upset that she immediately started to cry and was quite clearly in shock. As were a number of other young children who were also in the vicinity.

No matter what context you frame this, it is unacceptable behaviour in our City Centre and I have pressurised the Gardaí for action to ensure the safety of Waterford's citizens!"

Whilst Cllr Mulligan contacted the Gardaí, he did state that, "The last thing we want is teenagers having to be arrested for these potential life maiming/threatening incidents!"

Cllr Mulligan continued, "The responsibility cannot rest only with Gardaí and we as parents must know what OUR teenagers are up to. We need to ensure that ALL members of the public are educated in the dangers fireworks pose, if used incorrectly! To mitigate possible horrific injuries parents must be supported to ensuring this dangerous behaviour is eradicated immediately!

I am aware that a police operation was directly put in place, to target one of the sources allowing teenagers to purchase illegal fireworks."

Cllr Mulligan is also reporting that on Tuesday 31st October he was contacted by a significant number of residents, informing him of a number of serious teenage related incidents, in the Ballinakill area of Waterford. The incidents were once again relayed to the Gardaí, when a large crowd of around 80-100 youths were participating in underage public consumption of alcohol, egging of houses, open urination on private property, fighting, vandalising a car, throwing fireworks directly at businesses and homes.

We must educate our teenagers on the exact process if you happen to be in a situation where you can be arrested and possibly prosecuted. If Gardaí intervene and pursue you for criminal anti-social behaviour, your future aspirations in life could well be limited. We do need our teenagers to THINK, before acting in a socially irresponsible way."

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