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Halloween Bonfires

Press Statement

Kildare County Council and Kildare Fire Service are urging members of the public and businesses not to supply any waste material to persons who do not hold a valid waste collection permit.

The call comes in advance of the Halloween period, which traditionally has been used by some people to illegally dispose of waste material on bonfires.  

Fire Services throughout Ireland responded to over 500 bonfire related incidents in 2011 at a cost of more than €600,000 to local authorities.

While they have been a traditional part of Halloween for many years now, bonfires and fireworks pose risks and dangers.  Bonfires can be bad for humans as they can produce toxic gases and fumes (including dioxins and other poisons) given off from burning all sorts of materials.  Empty gas cylinders and aerosol cans in the fire can explode and become deadly missiles.


Bonfires are bad for the environment, releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere, burning the soil and leaving ash and other burnt residue in green spaces – the same green spaces our children play on.

The uncontrolled burning of waste, particularly in bonfires, is illegal under the Air Pollution Act 1987, and the Waste Management Acts 1996-2008.

Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property.  Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for the fire service and responding to bonfire call outs can put a strain on existing resources.

Celina Barrett, Chief Fire Officer of Kildare Fire Services, stated: “Halloween is a great time for children and families, however, it can be one the busiest times of the year for the fire services.  I would like people to be aware of the fire safety hazards that arise from illegal bonfires, where the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or death.”

Members of the public are also advised not to buy, use or supply fireworks.  Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children.  Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks.  Throughout the country every year children end up tragically injured, and often scarred for life, after using illegal fireworks.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

  • If you wish to dispose of waste items (including timber, mattresses, tyres, gas bottles etc.) there are two Recycling Centres in Kildare:

            Gallows Hill, Athy, tel.: 059 864 0657

            Silliot, Hill, Kilcullen, tel.: 045 482229

  • Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for use in a bonfire; many garage or garden shed items such as petrol, white spirits, diesel, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint, bottles and tyres are especially dangerous if set on fire.
  • Parents, business and householders should not provide any materials for bonfires.
  • Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or property.
  • Contact the Fire Brigade by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.
  • Under the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007-2008, all persons engaged in waste collection must hold a valid waste collection permit.
  • Any person wishing to confirm the legitimacy of a waste collector should ask the collector for their waste collection permit number.  This can be checked with Offaly County Council who deal with all waste collection permits in Ireland.  They can be contacted at 057 9357428 or email
  • Be aware that it is a criminal offence to give your waste to any individual who does not hold a current and valid waste collection permit.



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