Fireworks a menace to farm animals, MLA

Robin Swann. (Editorial Image)

Robin Swann. (Editorial Image)

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The entire community must be alert over the threat to livestock from the irresponsible use of fireworks in the countryside, a local MLA says.

Ulster Unionist Assemblyman Robin Swann has called on the community to help stamp out any threat to farm animals from “young, irresponsible thugs throwing fireworks” during the Halloween period.

He said: “The entire community, both urban and rural, needs to remain on alert because of the threat from fireworks in the countryside.

“With Hallowe’en approaching, there still unfortunately remains the threat from large volumes of often illegal fireworks in the countryside. These illegal fireworks, and especially the loud banger types, still pose a considerable threat to farm livestock. I strongly condemn these attacks on livestock as they are an open attack on the farmer’s livelihood and assets.”

“I have welcomed a past seizure by the police in Ballymena of an amount of illegal fireworks which could have caused injury not just to others but also to the users,” said Mr Swann.

“I appeal to the community that if they have any knowledge of these types of attacks to give the information as soon as possible to the police so that these people can be brought before the courts and face the due process of the law.

“I also appeal to parents to ensure they know that their children are doing.”

Mr Swann pointed out that people could also find themselves under threat from “the so-called Banger Menace”.

“In past times, too, human life was put at considerable risk when young hoods threw fireworks into a church hall where a youth group was meeting in my own home village of Kells and Connor,” he said.

“As a community, we have a moral duty to assist the police and the courts in eradicating the threats to life and physical attacks from these Hallowe’en hoods.

“These socially sick individuals often get their kicks by intimidating the more vulnerable in our society. As a community, we cannot afford to wait until a flock or herd is burned alive before taking action to help the forces of law and order stamp out ‘the Banger Menace’,” said Assemblylan Swann.