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Councillor sparks debate with 'quieter' fireworks call

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Awareness: DUP’s Wesley Irvine said council’s displays were well advertised

Awareness: DUP’s Wesley Irvine said council’s displays were well advertised

Awareness: DUP’s Wesley Irvine said council’s displays were well advertised

Sparks flew after a DUP councillor led a call for quieter fireworks - unless they are set off by his council.

Councillor Wesley Irvine this week put forward a motion to Ards and North Down Council to "actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people - including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risk".

The motion urged Justice Minister Naomi Long to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90 decibels for those sold to the public for private displays. It also encourages local suppliers of fireworks to stock "quieter" fireworks for public display.

However, elected members disagreed over whether the council should heed its own advice.

Mr Irvine said the council's public displays "are well advertised in advance, giving people plenty of notice they are taking place. However fireworks bought privately can go up at any time of the year, and any time of the day or night".

"There are restrictions on who can purchase fireworks; it has to be with a licence, but the current noise level allowed for fireworks is 120 decibels. This is equivalent to an aircraft taking off.

"I have been in touch with the USPCA, who have suggested that such noise levels should be restricted to licensed public events as I have mentioned, and that fireworks sold for private use should be limited to 90 decibels - equivalent to a car door slamming."

He added: "I think this is a sensible suggestion which will minimise the impact, both on animals and the general public."

He said the measure would also help those with PTSD, sensory issues and autism.

But after it was suggested by Alliance that "it would be remiss of us to hold public displays that aren't practising what we preach", the DUP man disagreed.

"There is a clear distinction between public displays and private fireworks that torture people, cats and dogs from October into November," he said.

The amended motion, calling for quiet fireworks from the council as well as private users, passed, with nine elected members in support, four DUP against, and one abstention. It will go to the council for full ratification.

Belfast Telegraph


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