Category 1 Fireworks – Need To Know!

Category 1 fireworks (party poppers, sparklers, throw downs etc) are classified as explosives and as such they are subject to all the legal provisions of the Explosives Act 1875 and associated legislation.

Any importer, distributor or retailer who intends to either import, store or supply Category 1 fireworks must comply with the legal requirements as outlined below.


Category 1 fireworks can only be imported after an import licence has been issued by the Department of Justice. A licence will only be granted when this Department is satisfied that the fireworks are:

  • CE marked or manufactured in accordance with a recognised national standard
  • Classified for transport in accordance with the UN scheme
  • All labels and markings are correct and
  • The importer has adequate suitable storage (see Storage below)

Please find the “Guidance Document on the Legal Obligations for Importers, Retailers and Distributors for Category 1 Fireworks” and an Import Application Form.


Category 1 fireworks (party poppers, sparklers, throw downs etc) must normally be stored in either a premises registered with the local authority or a store licensed by the local authority. For the majority of retail outlets a registered premises is sufficient.

The only exception to this is where the total amount of explosives in the retail outlet (shop and stores) is less than 5 Kg. This quantity would equate to up to 300,000 party poppers, 200,000 throw downs or 1 retail box of sparklers.

Form of Notice to the Local Authority to Register Premises for the Sale of Category 1 Fireworks” and an individual form must be filled out and sent to the relevant local authority for each storage and sales location where the amount of explosives is greater than 5 Kg. Please note that even if you registered your premises last year the registration is only valid for one year and so you will need to renew your registration with the Local Authority. The Chief Fire officer of the local authority is normally the relevant person. “Guidance Document for the Storage of Pyrotechnic Articles in Retail & Distribution Centres” which provides additional information on explosive storage limits, fire precautions and best practice for the storage of Category 1 fireworks. The guidance for the display of Category F1 fireworks in the sales area.

Enforcement and Penalties:

Government Inspectors of Explosives will be conducting inspections of storage and retail premises to ensure compliance with the legislation, and it should be noted that

  • illegal importation of Category 1 fireworks
  • possession with intent to sell or supply unlicensed fireworks, or
  • unauthorised storage

by any person is contrary to the Explosives Act, as amended, and is liable to prosecution under the Act (with penalty on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €10,000 or a term not exceeding 5 years or both) and seizure of the firework stock.

If you need any further information or assistance in relation to this matter please do not hesitate to contact cwfarrell@justice.ie.