Mondello sky lantern event cancelled after opposition from Kildare Fire Officer, Irish Aviation Authority

"The wrong event at the wrong location at the wrong time"

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Mondello sky lantern event cancelled after opposition from Kildare Fire Officer and others

Sky lanterns are made mainly of thin paper.

An event which involved the release of sky lanterns and which was set to take place at Mondello on August 11 has been cancelled.

It had faced opposition from the Irish Aviation Authority, Kildare Fire Service and environmentalists.

Billed as the ‘Lights Festival’, the ticketed event was expected to involve the release of the lanterns, which are small hot air balloons, made mainly of paper and a small fire at the base of it.

But in a short statement issued on Friday, Mondello said that “following communication with the event organisers, Mondello Park confirms that the planned event on August 11th will not go ahead”.

A spokesperson for the venue didn’t want to elaborate to the Leinster Leader beyond that.

Read more: Kildare's Mondello Park set to celebrate 50th anniversary

Kildare Fire Officer Celina Barrett had objected on safety grounds to the event. She told the Leinster Leader that she had written to Mondello outlining her concerns and was in correspondence with them, although she noted that the decision to cancel was their own.

She said that her concerns were related in particular to the drought conditions. “Just because it rained at the weekend, doesn’t mean it would have been safe,” she explained. “It was a rural location, and given the drought conditions, there was potential for fire.

“The plan was that the lanterns were being released at nightfall, as conditions get dark,” she explained. Her concern was that neighbours might be asleep, or not at home and that a fire could break out if a lantern landed, still lit. “We also have to be conscious that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine still have an Orange Fire Danger Warning in operation at the moment.”

“It was the wrong event at the wrong location at the wrong time,” she said. The event was organised by a UK based company called ‘The Light’s Fest’, it was advertised on their website as happening in “Dublin, Ireland” with tickets going for as much as €41.

The company advertised the festival as “a magical evening that will create memories to last a lifetime.

“Come celebrate as we put our inhibitions to the side, and our dreams to the sky. In one night, you can change to what you want to become. Let go of your fears, and embrace your true self. Join us as we light the fire within.”

A spokesperson for the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), said that it was “aware of the advertising and promotional material surrounding this proposed event circulating online”.

“Such a release (of sky lanterns) would have been illegal unless appropriate permission were granted from the relevant authorities. The organisers of the event did not approach or apply to the IAA at any stage. The IAA does not endorse or encourage the use of sky lanterns.”

And environmentalists voiced their objection to the lanterns pointing that they are a threat to birds, wildlife and pets. “Fire hazard aside, these lanterns are a huge threat to the environment, with birds getting entangled in wires stuck in trees, or wildlife, cattle or pets getting injured when they step into the sharp frames or accidentally ingesting parts of them,” said Newbridge environmentalist Deirdre Lane.

Sky lanterns are banned in countries like Australia and Brazil where they have caused fires.