Revellers: no major incidents

EMERGENCY SERVICES personnel breathed a sigh of relief last night as heavy downpours early on in the evening dampened down antisocial behaviour linked to the Hallowe'en festivities and a widely anticipated surge in assaults on fire crews failed to materialise.

There has been a spike in violent attacks on firemen in recent weeks in the run up to the Hallowe'en period. Three fire crews were attacked with stones on just one night this week while trying to extinguish separate fires on Tuesday.

Crews from Finglas and Phibsborough attended two separate fires in Ballymun, in the north of the city, at about 7pm on Tuesday.

They were attacked with stones by a gang of youths when they arrived and some of their equipment was stolen.

A 10-year-old boy was also arrested in Ballymun on Tuesday night after an attack by a group on the two fire crews fighting a blaze on the seventh floor of a block of flats on Coultry Road.

Another crew from Tallaght was trying to extinguish a fire in Ballyfermot in west Dublin when they were hit by stones.

In addition, two firemen were hospitalised on Sunday last after they were attacked by a mob in Blanchardstown.

It was feared that youngsters had been stockpiling an arsenal of makeshift weapons and missiles that they planned to use against firemen while they were fighting blazes in the Dublin area, last night.

But a spokesman for the garda press office confirmed that it was a relatively quiet evening compared to previous years and up until late last night there were no reports of attacks on emergency services personnel.

Last year on Hallowe'en night two gardaí in Dublin were hospitalised after they were attacked by youths.

Elsewhere a fireman was taken to hospital with a serious eye injury after a fire engine was stoned on Sheriff Street.

Last night Johnny Fox, Assistant Secretary of Impact, which represents fire brigade officers, said the union's members were enjoying a relatively peaceful Halloween.

"I am hearing that the night is busy but nothing too dramatic has happened. You expect to have a surge in attacks at this time of the year. There were a couple of incidents during the week but so far tonight we haven't heard anything," he said.

"Dublin City Council is running some fairly well organised events in the city, so that might cut down on the more dramatic events that would have happened in other years."