Durkan wishes Hallowe’en capital a great night but warns that fires and fancy dress don’t mix

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Foyle MP Mark Durkan has wished everyone in Derry a Happy Hallowe’en but has asked parents and trick-or-treaters to be wary of the dangers of fires and fancy dress at this time of costumes and sparklers.

Mr Durkan said: “I know that children in Derry and throughout the North love dressing up - particularly over the Halloween period - and this is why I am so keen to raise awareness of the dangers of open flames and fancy dress.”

He made the comments in support of a campaign by the BBC Strictly Come Dancing host, Claudia Winkleman, whose eight-year-old daughter Mathilda, was seriously burned wearing a witches’ outfit while trick or treating.

The campaign is being supported by Sainsbury’s.

“I’m delighted that last year funding was made available for Trading Standards to conduct spot checks on hundreds of retailers to ensure that costumes meet safety standards,” said Mr Durkan.

“I also commend Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets for introducing more stringent safety checks and would call on others to follow suit.

“Ultimately, we need to work to close this loophole so that all manufacturers have to comply with much more stringent safety tests – and I will lobby to do this.

“However, with Halloween almost upon us, the key thing now is to spread the message far and wide to parents about these dangers, and I hope that this awareness raising event will help to do that,” he said.

Colin Bradford, Head of Non-Food Technical and Ethical Practices at Sainsbury’s, said: “Many retailers are working extremely hard to address this issue.

“This event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety at Halloween and share our own approach, which has led to the introduction of a more stringent approach to product development and flammability testing that exceeds all current legal requirements.”