29 Jan 2022

Only two call outs as gardaí and emergency services in Longford praised over incident-free Halloween

Only two call outs as gardaí and emergency services in Longford praised over incident-free Halloween

High Garda presence in Longford town for the Garda Band on Sunday resulted in lower crime rates PICTURE: MICHAEL CROGHAN

Emergency services have come in for noteworthy praise after Longford's Halloween celebrations passed off without incident.

Fire services in the county town received just two call-outs over the course of an incident-free night last Sunday.

It's understood both reports were in response to keeping a watching brief over the lighting of bonfires.

A spokesperson described this year's festivities as “exceptionally quiet” in comparison to previous years.

Local councillor and former Joint Policing Committee chairperson Cllr Seamus Butler expressed his delight at the way gardaí and frontline emergency services ensured any Halloween-related incidents were kept t to a premium.

“There was a significant reduction and that had a lot to do with the planning that went into it,” he said.

“It also showed that the legislation and the penalties such as fines and even imprisonment is working.”

Last month, gardaí launched a nationwide policing plan for the detection and prevention of the sale of fireworks.

Last year, gardaí seized fireworks nationwide with a value of €35,490.

Charges or summons were preferred in nine incidents where fireworks were seized and there were youth referrals in 42 incidents.

This was an increase from 2019, when fireworks worth around €31,000 were seized.

Cllr Butler said it was his view another key factor was the holding of Operation Blue Santa on the same afternoon.

“The fact you had the Garda Band playing in St Mel's Cathedral made sure there was a large garda presence out which certainly helped,” he added.

His party colleague and Longford Municipal District Cathaoirleach Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi was equally forthcoming in her appreciation of the way the county town's public took on board advice from various State bodies.

“The weather kind of kept a lid on activities and this year, things were definitely more low-key than what would have been expected under normal circumstances,” she said.

Cllr Adejinmi quipped about how the modest nature of proceedings had left her with a “full bowl of sweets” to dispose of due to a lack of trick or treaters.

“I suppose people paid heed to the advice to desist from fireworks and anti-social behaviour and to that extent, Halloween was as peaceful as can be expected in the town.”

The African-born local politician said she was especially taken by the level of consideration which was shown by Longford's many diverse communities to one another.

“It was great to see how people were mindful and respectful of one another by not engaging in anti-social behaviour,” she added.

Cllr Adejinmi hinted at another reason for the peaceful passing off of Halloween was the acceptance by a large contingent of locals concerning a recent rise in Covid infection rates.

“I think there was a mindfulness there too that we are not completely out of the woods with Covid-19,” she added.

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