Cancellation of Glasgow Green firework display did fire service ‘no favours’

A fire chief has admitted the cancellation of Glasgow Green’s organised firework display didn’t do the service “any favours” when dealing with Bonfire Night disorder

The cancellation of a major fireworks display didn’t do the fire service “any favours”, according to a station commander (Getty Images)

Station commander Iain McCormick said some people think November 5 is a “free for all” and there were a number of incidents, including attacks on firefighters.

He added, in future, he hopes there are more organised events and a “stricter curtailing” on the sale of fireworks.

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Glasgow Green’s annual firework display was cancelled as it clashed with the United Nations climate summit COP26. Normally, up to 50,000 people attend the free display.

In September, organisers Glasgow Life said: “Preparing and then clearing Glasgow Green for this event takes several days and so that Glasgow Green remains available to people in early November we will not be hosting Glasgow Fireworks this year.”

Speaking at a Southside Central Area Partnership meeting this week, Mr McCormick said while information was still being collated, there were a “number of incidents, there were some firefighter attacks as well unfortunately”.

“We continue to look at where these are happening and how these are happening. Obviously education is our biggest tool in terms of trying to prevent them going forward.

“Unfortunately, there are still some who think it’s a free for all come Bonfire Night, that everything goes. We’re trying to break that cycle, we can only do that working in conjunction with community groups, schools and Police Scotland.

“There were significant numbers but still overall lower than probably most years. The firefighters that were injured are going to make a good recovery.”

Tricia Ingram, from Hutchesontown Community Council, said fireworks were going off in the Gorbals until 3am in the morning.

“That’s the longest they’ve gone on,” she said. “I don’t know if it was in relation to the fact that Glasgow Green didn’t have its big event.”

Mr McCormick said: “I think that didn’t do us any favours really, given the COP and the organised events not going ahead across the board.

“All we can hope for is, as we go forward, more organised efforts and hopefully a stricter curtailing of how we are selling fireworks.

“I know Police Scotland are going in and seizing illegal fireworks. There’s obviously timescales put on in terms of when you can release fireworks, but it’s a fairly hard task for Police Scotland to be policing that.

“As soon as they’re lit then people are disappearing as well. I think it’s how they’re sourcing them and that’s where the focus has to be put going forward.”

Andy Carberry, from Crosshill and Govanhill Community Council, said fireworks were also “going off all hours of the night into the early hours of the morning” in Govanhill.

“We had them going off the week before Bonfire Night as well. They were getting set off at 1am, right up to 2 and 3 in the morning. There is a problem there.”

He said personally he believes fireworks should be stopped altogether. “It’s now becoming a blight on society.”

Cllr Mhairi Hunter agreed with everyone who wants to stop the general sale of fireworks. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to sell people explosives really,” she said.