By Rory Murphy with pictures by Tom Gardiner and Alan Ruine

It was almost a month since Guy Fawkes night, but loud bangs were booming out over Barloan on Monday night.

At first we thought it was gunfire; that someone or something was being shot at.

However, then we saw brightly-coloured stars lighting up the sky, which was some comfort to us.

We knew that the usual suspects were at it again.  People with money to burn who don’t give a care for their elderly neighbours, sleeping children or terrified pets.

“Och, it was just a bit of fun,” doesn’t cut it as an excuse.

The din went on until well after midnight.

How the police didn’t hear the noise, or did not respond to telephone calls, we’ll never know.


Bonfire Night when Guy Fawkes gets his comeuppance.

Sleeping children were wakened from their cots. We could imagine pet owners trying to comfort their animals, some of which were so scared they were hiding under the bed.

Other dogs refused to go out for a walk. They were too scared.

Some wet the floor and further upset and inconvenienced their elderly owners.

Mostly, it was children or old people who were upset.

They love their animals and feel for them when when the rockets and bangers and Catherine wheels go off.

Why don’t the police do something about it, they ask.

Many people are so upset about this issue that it was raised at the November meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council.

Lots of people have asked for fireworks to be banned and for shops to stop selling them.

Cllr Jim Bollan says there is already a requirement within West Dunbartonshire for any commercial firework display to be advertised prior to getting a licence, in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people.

He asked if it were possible through the Council’s multi-agency firework task group 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 risks.

And for the Council to write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays.

He asked the Council to encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for sale.

It would appear some people don’t even know what they “celebrating” on November 5 and, in some cases, weeks beforehand and more than a month afterwards.

Lots of people will be surprised to discover that they are celebrating an English Catholic festival.

Fawkes, who was also known as Guido Fawkes while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

He was born and educated in York; his father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic.

Fawkes converted to Catholicism and left for mainland Europe, where he fought for Catholic Spain in the Eighty Years’ War against Protestant Dutch reformers in the Low Countries.

He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England without success.

He was part of a plan to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne.

The plotters leased an under-croft beneath the House of Lords; Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder which they stockpiled there.

The authorities were prompted by an anonymous letter to search Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and they found Fawkes guarding the explosives.

He was questioned and tortured over the next few days and confessed to wanting to blow up the House of Lords.

Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered.

He became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in the UK as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605, when his effigy is traditionally burned on a bonfire, commonly accompanied by fireworks.

Those who oppose the fireworks events of November 5 in this country believe they should be stopped and that people who let off fireworks other than at licensed community events should be prosecuted on breach of the peace charges.

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